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Chinese government hits back after US says ‘The Great Firewall of China’ is a trade barrier

The Cyberspace Administration of China has defended its use of a strict firewall, saying it is in place to “guarantee security” for the country after the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said the firewall was a “significant burden” and was a trade barrier in its annual report.

It claimed the censorship had worsened since since 2013, when Xi Jinping came into power, creating issues for foreign businesses and internet users. However, the USTR hasn’t officially called it out as a trade barrier since 2013.

According to a report in South China Morning Post, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released a statement, defending its protective firewall.

“The aim of the internet security inspection system is to guarantee the security and controllability of information technology products and services, safeguard user information security, and strengthen market and user confidence.

China scrupulously abides by World Trade Organisation principles and its accession protocols, protects foreign enterprises’ lawful interests according to law, and creates a fair market environment for them,” said the CAC.

Websites like Google, Facebook and Twitter are blocked from Chinese internet users, though a mistake meant people could access Google for a short time this month. With the world’s biggest online population, being accessible in China is sought after by the US tech giants. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, for example, has courted the Chinese government regularly to advise on how to allow access to foreign digital media safely, as yet to no avail.

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