HANGZHOU, November 20- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Thursday demanded a greater role for Beijing in shaping the global Internet, calling for “order” online as he failed to address his government’s censorship of content it deems politically sensitive.
“We believe in an open, transparent and above all safe Internet,” Li said on the sidelines of a Chinese-created Internet conference.
“That requires an Internet shared and governed by all — all stakeholders equal,” he added, in comments made to representatives from US chip maker Qualcomm and professional networking site LinkedIn.
Li met with China’s top Internet company bosses as well as officials from foreign firms and industry groups in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
His visit was seen as an attempt to raise the profile of the World Internet Conference, which was being held in nearby Wuzhen.
Human Rights group Amnesty International has called the conference an attempt by Beijing to spread its model of strict Internet supervision to the world.
China’s Communist rulers also block some Western media websites and bar services from Internet giants Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Li acknowledged the benefit of e-commerce as an engine of China’s economy, but called for “order” in the freewheeling Internet.
“Without order, the Internet would not be a safe and credible place,” he said.
Founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, told Li of his vision to build a “global version” of Taobao.
The platform currently accounts for over 90 percent of consumer-to-consumer transactions in China.
Ma is a Chinese Internet success story, with Alibaba recently listing on the New York Stock Exchange in the world’s biggest IPO to date.
But the executive chairman of Qualcomm, which is reportedly facing an investigation in China for monopoly behaviour, referred to difficulties with its business.
“We’re going through some difficult discussions now,” he said, but gave no details.
Li replied: “I believe the opportunities in China will be greater than the challenges.”