By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 11: Ahead of China’s three-day World Internet Conference to be held in China’s southern town of Wuzhen next week (Dec. 16-18), Lu Wei, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China on Wednesday defended China’s intense internet censorship by calling the need for censorship as a means to create order.
While rejecting government led content management as well as blockages of many websites, he likened internet censorship as prevalent in China as a measure to create order. “Every car and every pedestrian wants to move around freely, which is exactly why you need rules, Freedom is our goal and order is the means to achieve that goal,” Lu Wei said at a press conference.
On the specific matter of blocking off prominent websites and search engines, he said, "Indeed, we do not welcome those that make money off China, occupy China's market, even as they slander China's people. These kinds of websites I definitely will not allow in my house."
China has around 650 million internet users, the largest in the world and is pushing forward trending internet firms such as Tencent Holdings, Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding.
Deemed the Chinese Internet czar, Lu Wei tried to propagate a failed draft to consolidate the internet space as something similar to a physical territory where nations have the sole authority and sovereignty to control cyber content in its country. The project conceived by Beijing and spearheaded by Lu did not gather support from leaders from other nations and has since been kept on the back burner. Critics have labeled the project, an attempt by china to expand the censorship illegitimacy.
The illegitimacy is extended into Tibet with an increased venom and vigor. With crackdowns and arbitrary actions by Chinese military and police happening on a day to day basis, internet as a window to show the world of the ongoing atrocities have been firmly shut.
Activist and founder of Tibet Action Institute, a group working for security of Tibetans in the virtual world, Lhadon Tethong points to that grave reality in Tibet. “In terms of digital rights in Tibet, we just have to assume it's the worst of the worst. When we compare the ability of a Chinese person to speak their mind to that of a Tibetan in Tibet, the cost for Tibetans, and the surveillance over Tibetans, is usually much higher. China is extremely paranoid about any challenge to its authority from Tibet,” she said in a recent interview.
China aside from restricting, filtering and sabotaging contents on the internet has also blocked off major sites like Facebook, Gmail, Google search engine and other key players in the country.
The conference next week will be attended by President Xi Jinping, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and their counterparts from Pakistan and other nations in Asia.