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 Good Gear Guide 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

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?