China’s internet governance offers global example

By Zhang Yi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/7 20:58:40

The internet has transformed China's economic landscape. It has not only offered new incentives for the country's economic development, but also enhanced the confidence of increasingly digital consumers.

The digital economy of the country is also a world leader to be reckoned with. Statistics from the China Academy of Information of Communications Technology show that the total value of China's digital economy stood at $4 trillion in 2017, roughly one third of China's total GDP. The digital economy has stimulated consumption and provided momentum for China's economic transformation, which helps the country withstand the impacts of the trade war launched by the US.

This shows the success of China's internet governance. The success can also be proved by numbers. Data released during the second Digital China Summit, which opened Monday in East China's Fujian Province and will run till Wednesday, showed that the number of Chinese internet users hit 829 million by the end of 2018, with a penetration rate of 59.6 percent, surpassing the global average. 

However, Western countries have downplayed China's internet governance efforts. As Chinese authorities removed accounts from popular social media platforms for their spreading of harmful or false information, Western critics resorted to the platitude of freedom of expression. 

When it turned out that the gunman in the New Zealand mosque shootings in March livestreamed the attack on social media, the whole world was furious. Facebook said it was considering restrictions on who can livestream on the social network following the shootings. In early May, seven weeks after the shootings, the media reported that copies of the video are still circulating on Facebook and Instagram. This is the very manifestation of the challenges posed by internet governance. 

As internet governance has become a universal challenge, China wastes no time finding a solution and tries to provide a global approach. It has made a firm resolution on internet governance, with measures taken such as passing the Cybersecurity Law and preventing the internet from stirring up social unrest. All these show that China's internet governance has enhanced rather than weakened its internet competitiveness.

The scale of internet users in China is incomparable in the world. China has nowhere to draw lessons from in terms of regulating the internet. China is well aware of the tests it is facing from the development of the internet. 

For instance, the application of 5G and AI technologies will have a huge impact on the employment structure and the industrial chains. And, with e-commerce flourishing, the space of many traditional sectors is being squeezed, which may pose a challenge to social stability. While China keeps up with the times to regulate the internet, it must stick to its own path and governance model.

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