censorship

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Meets Representative of China’s Communist Party in Beijing


On March 19 Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, was received in Beijing by Liu Yunshan (刘云山), member of the Politburo Standing Committee and of the Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

According to Chinese media reports, Liu Yunshan said that the internet is a new common home for mankind and that shaping the future of the cyberspace community is a common responsibility of the international community (互联网是人类共同的新家园,构建网络空间命运共同体是国际社会的共同责任). “Chairman Xi Jinping‘s ‘Four Principles’ and ‘Five Propositions’ regarding the administration of the World Wide Web have received widespread approval”, Liu was quoted as saying. He added that over the past twenty years China’s internet has grown following “the path of development and governance with Chinese characteristics” (中国特色的发展治理之路). 

Liu praised Facebook’s advanced technology and management model and expressed his hope that the US company “might strengthen its exchanges with China’s internet companies, share its experience, promote mutual understanding and advance the development of the internet so that the people of every country can benefit more from it”.

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Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the progress made by China’s internet, calling the country an “internet superpower” with a global influence. “We hope to understand China more, explain China, cooperate with China and create a better world through the internet”, he was quoted as saying.

During the past two years Zuckerberg has widely publicised his interest in China and shown his willingness to accommodate himself to the country’s dictatorial political system despite the fact that Facebook is blocked by Beijing’s censorship. In December 2014 Zuckerberg received Lu Wei, Director of State Internet Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, on the Facebook campuses in California. During the visit, Lu noticed a copy of Xi Jinping’s book The Governance of China on Zuckerberg’s desk. Zuckerberg reportedly told Wei: “I also bought this book for my coworkers; I wanted them to learn about socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

In a speech at Tsinghua University in October last year, Zuckerberg won over his Chinese audience by speaking Mandarin. The US entrepreneur started his latest charm offensive on March 18, when he posted on his Facebook profile a picture of himself jogging at Tiananmen Square. “It’s great to be back in Beijing!”, he wrote. “I kicked off my visit with a run through Tiananmen Square, past the Forbidden City and over to the Temple of Heaven”.

Zuckerberg’s warming ties with Communist Party officials may signal a future expansion of the US tech giant in China. However, it is likely that the company will have to submit to Beijing’s censorship regulations as a precondition for entering the Chinese market.
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