Posted by: kenwbudd | May 17, 2010

The Great Firewall of China blocks EU trade into China

China’s internet “firewall” is a trade barrier and needs to be tackled within the framework of the World Trade Organisation, Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, told reporters in Shanghai today.

Dutch-born Kroes, who is also in charge of Europe’s digital agenda, said the firewall was a trade barrier as long as it blocked communication for Internet users, preventing the free flow of information.

“It is one of those issues that needs to be tackled within the WTO,” said Kroes, who served as European Commissioner for competition until 2009.

Kroes spoke at the China headquarters of video-sharing company Tudou, a rival of Google’s internationally popular video-sharing platform YouTube that is blocked in China.

Chinese law requires internet companies to block or remove objectionable content, including pornography and any information deemed sensitive by the ruling Communist Party.

Social media platforms popular overseas, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr, are all blocked in China for fear they will provide a platform to organise or share illicit information.

“I am pushing wherever I can just to get European enterprises a level playing field in China and the other way around. It should be reciprocal,” she said, adding that the amount of disruption from the firewall varied for each business.

The US has also explored taking China’s internet restrictions to the WTO. In the past, the WTO has upheld China’s right to censor printed and audiovisual content.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: