China will not close its door to the global internet, President Xi Jinping said on Sunday, but insisted that cyber sovereignty is key in the nation’s vision of internet development.
“The development of China’s cyberspace is entering a fast lane…China’s doors will only become more and more open,” Xi told a major cyber policy forum in Wuzhen in Zhejiang province.
Xi’s comments were read by Huang Kunming, head of the Chinese Communist Party’s publicity department, at the 4th World Internet Conference, Reuters reports.
Cyber sovereignty is the idea that states should be permitted to manage and contain their own internet without external interference.
China’s Communist Party has tightened cyber regulation in the past year, formalizing new rules that require firms to store data locally and censor tools that allow users to subvert the Great Firewall.
In June, authorities introduced a new national cybersecurity law that requires foreign firms to store data locally and submit to data surveillance measures.
Cyber regulators say the laws are in line with international rules, and that they are designed to protect personal privacy and counter attacks on core infrastructure.
Business groups say the rules unfairly target foreign firms.
China has advocated strongly for a larger role in global internet governance under Xi.
“China stands ready to develop new rules and systems of internet governance to serve all parties and counteract current imbalances,” Wang Huning, a member of the Communist Party standing committee, said at the event on Sunday.
The conference, which is overseen by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), invited foreign executives, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google chief Sundar Pichai.
Top executives from Alibaba Group, Tencent Holdings and Baidu also attended the forum.
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