“As BRICS host this year, China stands ready to work together with Russia and other BRICS partners,” Long Zhou, Coordinator, Cyber Affairs Division of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters in Beijing on Friday after releasing a white paper on the subject.
China, which is due to host the BRICS summit in the second half of this year, has restricted free access to the Internet and has banned international sites like Goggle, Facebook and Twitter besides scores of foreign media sites. In fact, many of these websites have Chinese versions and are actively backed by the government.
"It is unlikely India will agree to a separate BRICS pact on ‘cyber sovereignty’. New Delhi has already endorsed the principle that countries should be allowed to perform their sovereign functions – protect its critical infrastructure, prevent cyber crimes etc – in cyberspace. We have a Memorandum of Understanding with Russia signed last year during the Goa BRICS Summit, for precisely this purpose,” he told Sputnik.
Chinese officials maintain that the Internet is free in China, and only a small section of websites that “undermine” the country's national interests are banned.
“The Chinese Internet is fully open. As long as they comply with Chinese laws and regulations, refrain from undermining China’s national interests and interests of Chinese consumers, all Internet companies are welcome in China,” said Wang Jianchao, International Cooperation Department of the Cyberspace Administration of China.
The white paper, “International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace”, is China's first comprehensive policy document explaining Beijing’s Internet strategy.