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Xi Jinping calls for 'global Internet' despite censorship at home

Xi Jinping calls for 'global Internet' despite censorship at home
Chinese leader Xi Jinping proposed a shared cyberspace community during the seventh World Internet Conference in Wuzhen on Monday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- China wants to build a common cyberspace community with the outside world, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said during a conference that promotes the export of China's model of a highly regulated Internet.

Xi, who delivered his statement in a letter read at the seventh World Internet Conference in Wuzhen on Monday, said Beijing is ready to "cooperate" on building a shared Internet infrastructure, the South China Morning Post and China's CGTN reported.

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"Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, telemedicine, online education and telecommunication have been widely used and the Internet has played an important role in promoting economic recovery," Xi said.

"China is ready to work with other countries to grasp the information revolution, foster new driving forces for digital development and open up new prospects for digital cooperation."

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China has hosted the annual conference since 2014 to raise its profile on the world stage. The event has drawn executives from firms like Apple and Google over the years, according to the Post.

Beijing's censorship of the web affects press freedoms in the country, where comments that are deemed critical of Xi are deleted and the government regularly blocks website content.

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In a recent report, Human Rights Watch said China operates an "Orwellian high-tech surveillance state" and the country uses its economic power to silence critics overseas.

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On Monday, U.S. and Chinese executives were in attendance at the conference, also known as the Wuzhen Summit. Qualcomm Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf and Cisco's Chuck Robbin were expected to deliver video speeches, according to reports.

Xi, who has said China "will not go back in history" during the virtual APEC summit on Friday, has also said China will "favorably consider" joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to CGTN.

The agreement evolved from the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership that was signed late in the Obama administration. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the pact in 2017.

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