Fri, May 20, 2011
China > Politics

China says internet regulation a sovereign issue

2011-05-20 02:50:08 GMT2011-05-20 10:50:08(Beijing Time)  China Daily

BEIJING - The way the Chinese government manages the Internet in accordance with law is a sovereign matter and foreign courts have no jurisdiction according to international law, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday.

The Chinese government's Internet management accords with international norms, and China always supports the development of the Internet and guarantees citizens' lawful freedom of speech, Jiang said at a regular news conference.

Jiang's remarks referred to a lawsuit in which eight New York residents accused China's biggest search engine Baidu.com and the Chinese government of Internet censorship on Wednesday.

"I think the accusation is more like a PR (public relations) question than a legal question to Baidu," said Duncan Clark, president of Beijing-based research firm BDA China.

Because Baidu operates in China, it has to follow Chinese regulations, said Clark.

However, Yu Guofu, a partner with Beijing Shengfeng Law Firm, told China Daily that it still depends on how the United States defines its jurisdiction.

Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo declined to comment.

China is not the only country that faces the issue of how to supervise the Internet, because problems including online pornography, gambling and fraud have hampered its sound development or even threatened national security, analysts said.

Almost every country in the world supervises the Internet, the difference lies in how they manage online information, said Wen Weiping, associate professor at the Department of Information Security of Peking University.

The US government unveiled plans on Tuesday to work with other nations to make the Internet more secure and enable law enforcement bodies to work closely on cyber crime.

And in the strongest terms to date, the White House made it clear that the US will use its military might to strike back if the country comes under a cyber attack that threatens national security.

In early May, China established the State Internet Information Office, with Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, as its director, to strengthen coordination between different authorities and improve the legal, administrative and technical systems to help regulate the Internet.

Cyber security experts have argued that the Internet cannot be a safe place until nations implement international agreements that better define and regulate cyber crime, provide oversight of the Internet, and set out new standards and rules for the industry.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will host technology titans from influential companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, at a summit on May 24-25 in Paris, to talk about how governments could encourage cyber technology innovation and Internet regulation.

Reuters, AP and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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