Chinese president calls for respecting cyber sovereignty, opposes hegemony

Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized on Wednesday the importance of “respecting the cyber sovereignty” of all countries and urged the global community to oppose the pursuit of hegemony in cyberspace.

In his virtual address to the World Internet Conference (WIC) in the eastern city of Wuzhen, Xi stressed the need for creating a peaceful and secure cyberspace.

He underscored the importance of better internet governance, even as China is known for its strict censorship of Western social media and strong online content supervision.

Xi said it was important to improve public access to information-based services, bridge the digital divide, and improve people’s livelihoods with internet development, according to a WIC press statement.

While China continues to block access to thousands of web pages and Western applications, it has been hosting the global internet summit for nine years to promote international cyberspace cooperation.

Xi called for building a “more equal and inclusive cyberspace” and “the need to better promote the shared values of humanity.”

He said China was ready to work with other countries to address the risks posed by artificial intelligence development.

“China is willing to work with all parties to implement the Global Artificial Intelligence Governance Initiative and promote the safe development of AI.”

In April, Chinese internet authorities released a draft to regulate the artificial intelligence sector, which includes requirements for chatbots and other generative models to “reflect fundamental socialist values” and refrain from actions that may “undermine national unity,” “subvert state power,” or “incite division.” 

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga