Google and Facebook will have to accept China’s censorship and tough online laws if they want to operate in the country, a Chinese internet regulator told a conference in Geneva on Monday.
There’s “a question maybe in many people’s minds, why Google, why Facebook are not yet working and operating in China,” Reuters quoted Qi Xiaoxia, a top official with the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), as telling the Internet Governance Forum.
“If they want to come back, we welcome,” Qi told the forum which was held at the UN’s European headquarters.
“The condition is that they have to abide by Chinese law and regulations. That is the bottom line. And also that they would not do any harm to Chinese national security and national consumers’ interests,” said Qi, who is director general of the Bureau of International Cooperation at CAC.
Google and Facebook are currently blocked in China, along with Twitter and most major Western news outlets.
In Google’s case, it left China of its own accord in 2010.
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 that blocks sites including Facebook and Google.
Their rival Apple operates subject to strict censorship, having removed dozens of popular messaging and virtual private network apps from its China App Store this year to comply with government requests, Reuters noted.
“We are of the idea that cyberspace is not a space that is ungoverned. We need to administer, or supervise, or manage, the internet according to law,” Qi said.
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