China's first white paper on cyber security justifies curbs on social media, says it will thwart 'external interference'

"Safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests in cyberspace has become an important strategic goal," China's first white paper on cyber security released here said.

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 03, 2017, 00:38 AM IST
China's first white paper on cyber security justifies curbs on social media, says it will thwart 'external interference'
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Beijing: Justifying its curbs on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, China on Thursday said such controls were needed to prevent "external interference".

"Safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests in cyberspace has become an important strategic goal," China's first white paper on cyber security released here said.

Titled "International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace", the white paper highlighted how several countries including China and Russia pushed for a "sovereign" and nationally-administered and controlled internet to avoid external interference.

While it said China "supports a free and open Internet", senior Chinese officials who released the paper to the media put up a strong defence to Beijing's internet controls by blocking global social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube with Great firewalls, saying that it is keeping in line with protecting China's national interests.

Releasing the white paper, Wang Jianchao, International Cooperation Department of the Cyberspace Administration of China said, "the Chinese Internet is fully open".

"As long as they comply with Chinese laws and regulations, refrain from undermining China's national interests and interests of Chinese consumers, all Internet companies are welcome in China," Wang said.

Long Zhou, Coordinator, Cyber affairs division of the Foreign Ministry said, China was "deeply worried that around the world cyber attacks are increasing".

China, which has only state-controlled media, is trying to grapple with spread of social media like Weibo, a Chinese version of twitter which has hundreds of millions of users.

Weibo itself has over 313 million users. The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) worries that it could be effectively used to subvert its over six decades of rule.

China's concept of cyber sovereignty will be discussed in the BRICS, (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) to be held in Xiamen in September this year, officials said.

It will be discussed in the cyber security working group of the bloc, they said.

"As BRICS host this year, China stands ready to work together with Russia and other BRICS partners," Long said.

On the allegations of Russian interference in the US election, Long said, "especially in recent years, the number of cyber security events throughout the world increasing, posing challenges to all countries' efforts to maintain political, economic stability and protecting all citizens' rights and interests".