China is ready to work with other countries to deepen international cooperation, respect sovereignty on the Internet and uphold cybersecurity, President Xi Jinping said in a congratulatory message to the first World Internet Conference on Nov 19.
The three-day conference, held in Wuzhen, an ancient town in Zhejiang province, provides a platform for communication for more than 1,000 Internet titans from more than 100 countries and regions, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the nation’s top Internet watchdog.
“Following the principle of mutual respect and mutual trust, China is ready to work with other countries to deepen international cooperation, respect sovereignty on the Internet, uphold cybersecurity, and jointly build a cyberspace of peace, security, openness and cooperation, and an international Internet governance system of multilateralism, democracy and transparency,” Xi said.
Xi said “the development of the Internet has posed new challenges to national sovereignty, security and development interests”, which require the international community to urgently meet and pursue common governance.
The conference, scheduled to end on Nov 21, aims to tackle hot issues related to the Internet, including cybersecurity, cross-border e-commerce and development, and an online crackdown against terrorism.
Conference participants include leaders of China’s three largest Internet enterprises－Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Tencent CEO Pony Ma and Baidu CEO Robin Li, as well as Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers CEO Fadi Chehade and representatives from Qualcomm, Microsoft and Samsung.
It is the first time that China has held such a high-level Internet summit, the Cyberspace Administration of China said.
Lu Wei, director of the administration, said at the opening ceremony that the conference brings foreigners to China, lets Web enterprises attract consumers, and gives Internet officials and specialists a chance to come to a consensus.
Foreign participants will boost understanding on how to solve online problems across the world, Lu said, adding it also shows China’s determination to take part in cyberspace governance.
Shen Yi, an associate professor specializing in cybersecurity at Fudan University, spoke highly of the conference, saying China’s role in governing the global network has become more important, and is on its way to becoming a leader.
“As our economy roars, we can and should have a voice in the world,” he said.
James Andrew Lewis, director and senior fellow of the Technology and Public Policy Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said, “China has to think about what role it wants to play internationally. The EU, US, China, Russia, Brazil and Germany－there are six players that will shape the Internet in the world and China is clearly one of them, but it is not alone.”
“Meetings like this, if we can find a way for these countries to agree, that would be great,” Lewis said.
But Li Yuxiao, professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said cyberspace agreements may be harder to reach during the conference.
“Our interests are different, so there’s a long way to go to find agreement. But the key lies in that we now have a platform for communication,” he added.
Jack Ma Yun, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said, “China is participating in the world’s Internet development and is providing unique values.”
He said that the Internet will continue to influence life and human civilization.