Tech prowess in the spotlight amid US rivalry


  • ASEAN+
  • Monday, 21 Oct 2019

Opening words: Huang reading a message from Xi at the opening ceremony of the fifth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province. — Reuters

Wuzhen: China said it aims to become a “great power” in the online world and took a swipe at Washington on trade, kicking off its annual conference promoting the Communist Party’s version of the Internet.

US-China rivalry is increasingly playing out in the digital sphere, as Beijing pursues dominance in next-generation technology while Washington takes measures to cripple Chinese tech firms like Huawei.

China heavily monitors and censors its Internet, with US titans Facebook, Twitter and Google all hidden behind a so-called “Great Firewall” that also blocks politically sensitive content.

At the yearly World Internet Conference, held in the picturesque ancient canal town of Wuzhen since 2014, Chinese officials talked up the country’s tech prowess.

“We have become a cyberspace power of 800 million netizens,” the head of the Communist Party’s propaganda department, Huang Kunming, said in a keynote address.

Huang added that in the future, China “will unceasingly expand the fruits of Internet development and forge ahead from a cyberspace ‘big power’ to a cyberspace ‘great power’”.

The propaganda chief also denounced “cyber-hegemony and bullying” by other countries – using language typically reserved for the United States – which he said were behind confrontation in the high-tech world.

The US is threatening crippling sanctions on Huawei, which is expected to be a leading player in the advent of ultra-fast 5G communications that will make many new technologies possible.

“Some countries have placed restrictions on and suppressed other countries and companies, escalating uncertainty and even antagonism in cyberspace,” Huang said, without naming the United States directly.

The US commerce department also earlier this month said it will blacklist 28 Chinese entities it says are implicated in rights violations and abuses.

President Xi Jinping has previously sketched out plans for China to gain dominance in key future technologies by 2025, a strategy that has caused US alarm. — AFP

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Internet , Communist Party

   

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