China's web firewall 'should be WTO issue'
Monday 17 May 2010
China's internet "firewall" is a trade barrier and needs to be tackled within the framework of the World Trade Organization, Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, told reporters in Shanghai today.
Dutch-born Kroes, who is also in charge of Europe's digital agenda, said the firewall was a trade barrier as long as it blocked communication for internet users, preventing the free flow of information.
"It is one of those issues that needs to be tackled within the WTO," said Kroes, who served as European Commissioner for competition until 2009.
Kroes spoke at the China headquarters of video-sharing company Tudou, a rival of Google's internationally popular video-sharing platform YouTube that is blocked in China.
Chinese law requires internet companies to block or remove objectionable content, including pornography and any information deemed sensitive by the ruling Communist Party.
Social media platforms popular overseas, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr, are all blocked in China for fear they will provide a platform to organize or share illicit information.
"I am pushing wherever I can just to get European enterprises a level playing field in China and the other way around. It should be reciprocal," she said, adding that the amount of disruption from the firewall varied for each business.
The US has also explored taking China's internet restrictions to the WTO. In the past, the WTO has upheld China's right to censor printed and audiovisual content.
China's more than 400 million internet users, many of them young and educated, increasingly spend time online for entertainment. Despite censorship, the Internet can be a potent public forum in China, with bloggers and amorphous online groups hectoring the government over pollution and corruption.
Kroes said it was significant that companies such as Tudou, which uploads user videos, show that the younger generation is taking an active role in tackling censorship.
Tudou, which adheres to government censorship regulations, said it deletes 100,000 videos every month for content that involves pornography or politics.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
NHS property sale could raise £7.5bn to help pay off its growing deficit and free up space for housing
Gay marriage, one year on: Couples mark first anniversary of same-sex marriages
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 5 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Compute Engineer role also ...
£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...
£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...