If Google and Facebook want to operate in China and access its 751 million internet users, it will have to operate within China’s cybersecurity rules.
That’s according to Qi Xiaoxia, director general of the Bureau of International Cooperation at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), who Reuters reported told a conference in Geneva that the social media giants will have to accept the cyber laws of the land in China. Google, Facebook and Twitter have been blocked from China for some years now.
“That’s a question maybe in many people’s minds: why Google, why Facebook are not yet working and operating in China,” said the government official. “If they want to come back, we welcome [them]. 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.”
Over the course of the last year, the Communist Party of China has been regulating the internet and putting in place new cyber rules that require foreign companies to store data locally in the country and ban VPNs and other tools that are designed to get around firewalls that block citizens from accessing internet sites, including Facebook and Google.
Apple is operating in the country but has agreed to operate under the strict censorship rules, noted the report. “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. “Can you guess the number of websites in China? We have 5 million websites. That means that the Chinese people’s rights of speech and rights of expression are fully ensured.” The report noted that it’s not clear where the 5 million website count came from on what it was based.
According to internetlivestats.com, there are 1.3 billion websites on the world wide web, defining a website as a unique host name, which can be resolved, using a name server, into an IP address.