China: Facebook not banned, but must follow the rules

A top Chinese official clarified his stance on the social media network

China may be blocking access to Facebook, but that doesn't mean the social media network can't one day enter the country, as long as it follows the rules, a top government official said on Thursday.

Lu Wei, the director of China's State Internet Information Office, made the comment at a press conference after media outlets had previously reported him saying that Facebook would never be allowed in the country.

"The media claimed that I said 'it would absolutely impossible.' Today, I can tell you that this news is fake," he said, according to a government transcript of his comments.

Just a week ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in China, where he spoke at an event almost entirely in Mandarin. Zuckerberg's language skills stunned Chinese Internet users, and caused many to ask when the site might arrive in the country.

Lu, who heads an office that regulates China's Internet, stated, "Of course, I have never said Facebook could enter China. I also never said it couldn't enter China."

"Foreign Internet companies entering China must at the base level accord to Chinese laws and regulations," he said. "First, you can't damage the national interests of the country. Second is you cannot hurt the benefits of Chinese consumers."

"If China's laws and regulations are respected, we welcome all of the world's Internet companies to enter the Chinese market," he added.

Following those rules, however, would also mean adhering to China's strict censorship policies, which often silence mention of politically sensitive topics. Since 2009, the country has been blocking Facebook, after ethnic riots broke out in China's Xinjiang region.

Zuckerberg has visited China four times, and in the past met with the country's most popular tech companies including search company Baidu and handset maker Xiaomi. But the U.S. social networking firm has made no mention of entering the Chinese market any time soon, aside from selling online ads to merchants in the country.

During Thursday's press conference, Lu said China's "management" of the Internet has always accorded with the laws, and was meant to protect the country.

"China has always been warm and courteous, but who ends up at our house as a guest is our choice," Lu said, adding, "I can't change you, but I have the right to pick my friends."

Lu spoke as he announced that the country is preparing to hold a government-backed global Internet conference later in November. Companies from China and foreign markets including the U.S. have been invited to attend. China has over 600 million Internet users.

The government hopes the meeting will foster cooperation between countries, despite different views on how to regulate the Internet. "We have our differences, but we can't decide to not communicate," Lu said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesregulationsocial networkinggovernmentinternetFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?