China Think Tank Calls for 'Democratic' Internet Governance

Zhang Yong CEO of Alibaba introduces its artificial intelligence ET Brain during the release ceremony for the world’s leading internet scientific and technological achievements in Wuzhen east China's Zhejiang Province Dec. 3 2017

China ranks second only to the United States in terms of internet development and innovation, but among the worst on cybersecurity and industry infrastructure, according to a survey of 38 countries by a Beijing-backed think tank.

The annual World Internet Conference will be held from Dec 3 to 5 in the river town of Wuzhen, East China's Zhejiang province.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country will not close its door to the global internet, but that cyber sovereignty is key in its vision of internet development.

China has been pushing forward for a unified cyber governance body that would look into the internet governance of nations, but other countries and interested parties are against this strict stance.

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Xi highlighted cyber sovereignty at the same event two years ago, calling on nations to respect one another's internet regulations.

China has advocated strongly for a larger role in global internet governance under Xi. The report also calls for a more "democratic" internet governance system for the country to remove inequalities. The World Internet Conference comes after a year in which China has become more assertive over its perceived right to regulate its internal Internet.

The Cyberspace Administration of China says the new measures, which include the monitoring of private chat apps and censoring tools to block viewing of overseas websites, are created to maintain social order and protect socialist values.

China's Communist Party has tightened cyber regulation in the past year, formalising new rules that require firms to store data locally and censor tools that allow users to subvert the Great Firewall. Business groups say the law is harsher than comparable policies in Europe and the United States.

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