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Wuzhen's World Internet Conference charts news course

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

12-16-2015 17:17 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Commentator

The internet is more than just a technology. It's the end all and be all of our daily living. The world wide web connects us to society, while China's IT (internet technology) has played a crucial role for its development.


Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province in eastern China is hosting the 2nd annual World Internet Conference (WIC), which opens on Wednesday. Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a keynote speech to highlight Beijing's understanding of the internet and how IT will shape the nation's future.

Nine national leaders, 50 foreign ministerial-level officials and hundreds of IT powerbrokers from over 100 countries are expected to attend.

They would participate in 10 sub-Forums that address topics ranging from global internet governance, cyber-security, Internet Plus for sustainable development, internet intellectual property rights, technology innovations and internet philosophy.

Smart city for smart world

Wuzhen takes pride in its unique cultural heritage, preserving ancient Chinese structures on a waterway. The town is ideally situated southwest of Shanghai, where successful business people can relax in a more tranquil setting.

Yet, Wuzhen is keeping up with contemporary times as one of China's premier ‘smart cities,’ offering full-coverage WiFi, QRcode, mobile online payment method and internet hospital. The town blends cultural traditions with modern-day amenities.

Wuzhen residents are proud to stand at the forefront of future IT trends. The headquarters of China's top-ranked e-commerce giant - Alibaba - is located nearby in Hangzhou.

E-Commerce gets bigger and bigger

Alibaba's prominence as a leading global e-commerce retailer started in 2009, when the company launched a nationwide marketing campaign on China’s Singles'Day - Nov. 11 (11/11) by offering steep discounts for online purchases.

Chinese consumers jumped on the bandwagon. Online shopping is likely to continue expanding in the urban and rural areas of China. China's Ministry of Commerce is forecasting e-commerce sales to exceed 18 trillion yuan ($US2.8 trillion) for 2015.

Actually, Alibaba faces stiffer competition from its rivals, including JD.com, which benefits Chinese consumers, since more online retail platforms are seeking to capture a larger share of the market by selling better quality products and services at lower prices.

The World Internet Conference is doing its part to promote e-commerce worldwide.

Internet sovereignty respecting borders

Nonetheless, the internet is more than platform for e-commerce. It's a communications tool that keeps users in touch with political, economic and societal events. We can express our opinions via media outlets and Social Media, but such widespread dissemination of unfiltered information could pose harm.

A few people are exploiting Websites to post pornography, racist and sexist ideologies, false stories and extremist political viewpoints that could incite inflammatory public emotions that threaten humanity, the community and national security.

Beijing officials have taken steps to restrict free-access to vulgar Websites, which is similar to a law that forbids a person from shouting, "fire" as a false alarm in a crowded movie theater.

"China is exploring a new way of internet governance with the rule of law," Lu Wei, head of Cyberspace Administration of China, told Xinhua news. "We should correctly handle relations from freedom and order."

Yet, President Xi has endorsed internet sovereignty that supports the rights of each national government to determine how to govern its cyberspace within its borders.

Looking ahead

The internet is here to stay and we can no longer live without it. Wuzhen's World Internet Conference is promoting IT, but the Chinese government is enforcing some restrictions on the Web.

Beijing has engaged in a careful balancing act that encourages more innovation but with Chinese characteristics. Respecting internet sovereignty remains paramount. If another nation wishes to enact different cyberspace rules, they have every right to do so.



( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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