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China’s grand Internet vision is starting to ring hollow


The China Internet Development Report is pictured at a news conference during the fifth World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang. Delegates trudged through Wuzhen drizzle only to hear a subordinate – a member of the country’s powerful Politburo – deliver Xi’s remarks on his behalf, repeating the exhortations of years past. — Reuters

The China Internet Development Report is pictured at a news conference during the fifth World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang. Delegates trudged through Wuzhen drizzle only to hear a subordinate – a member of the country’s powerful Politburo – deliver Xi’s remarks on his behalf, repeating the exhortations of years past. — Reuters

Ever since Chinese President Xi Jinping marked the opening of the first World Internet Conference in 2014, it was meant to usher in a new era of digital openness and project China as a champion of global cyber-governance. 

The forum’s mastermind – then-cyberspace czar Lu Wei – began aggressively courting US technology giants, leading delegations of the Chinese industry’s brightest around Silicon Valley. In 2017, Apple Inc chief executive officer Tim Cook and Alphabet Inc’s Google CEO Sundar Pichai headlined the event in the town of Wuzhen. 

   

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