China fights back over Net censorship accusations
Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that China’s top Net companies have blasted criticisms from US lawmakers and media over its management of the Internet.
Speaking at the third plenary meeting of China’s Internet News and Information Service Committee in China’s southernmost Hainan Province, representatives from the companies responded to criticisms of China’s policy of monitoring and blocking content it deems inappropriate.
Wang Xiaohui, CEO of China.com, said: ‘Recently, certain Western media and some US lawmakers have accused China of controlling the Internet. I think the accusations are completely unfounded. They know nothing about the development and management of China’s Internet industry and relevant laws. In a word, they are ignorant of China’s Internet development environment.’
The accusations referred to stem from a meeting last month at the US House of Representatives international relations sub-committee, where politicians slammed the way in which US companies were flocking to do business in the People’s Republic without any consideration for China’s human rights record.
That meeting sparked outspoken comments, particularly from California congressman Tom Lantos who told the companies, ‘Your abhorrent activities in China are a disgrace’.
But Wang Xiaohui said: ‘China and the US have many differences, in social system, culture, value, and so on. Therefore, it is unfair for one country to use its own standard to judge another country’s behavior. The fact that a number of overseas companies invest in China’s Internet industry proves that the market is attractive.
‘China’s Internet development also provides potential business opportunities for the US. Top Chinese portals, such as China.com, Sina.com, and Sohu.com, have listed on Nasdaq. American individual shareholders and institutional investors might be grateful that the Chinese has provided them with valuable investment options.’
Most US companies setting up shop in China have complied with censorship, monitoring and other policies because that is the only way to do business there. But doing so has proved contoversial. Yahoo! was condemned for handing over information that led to a pro-democracy campaigner being sentenced to 10 years in jail.
But Wang Yan, CEO of Sina.com, said that this is exactly the kind of thing Chinese companies do for the FBI. ‘We also have provided personal information in the United States when the FBI required it. In our opinion, it is natural in every country to provide personal information in accordance with laws and regulations.’