Is Facebook and google coming back to China? A statement from Chinese government official gives a new hope.
At a press conference held in preparation for the upcoming World Internet Conference, a Bloomberg reporter asked Ren Xianliang, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China (which oversees internet governance) if the government would permit the two American internet giants to re-enter China. Both companies still have business-facing services in China, but Google effectively closed its consumer-facing search engine there in 2010, and authorities have blocked Facebook’s social network since 2009.
Ren replied (link in Chinese):
“China’s internet development has always maintained a policy of openness. As for foreign internet companies, as long as they respect China’s laws, don’t harm the interests of the country, and don’t harm the interests of consumers, we welcome them to enter China, where they can together share the benefits of China’s developing internet.”
The English-language version of the People’s Daily, a party mouthpiece, later published an article summarizing Ren’s remarks entitled “Facebook is welcome in China as long as it abides by Chinese laws: authority.”
By “China’s laws,” Ren is referring to the country’s strict censorship apparatus, which prevents internet users from seeking and spreading information considered critical of the Communist Party. Ren’s stance follows the party line. In 2010, when Google began mulling a withdrawal from China, foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in a press conference that “China’s internet is open,” adding that the government “welcomes international internet corporations to do business in China in accordance with law.”