After a spectacular failure in India, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg landed a rare meeting with China’s propaganda czar Liu Yunshan while in Beijing to attend the China Development Forum.
According to a report from China’s state-run news agency Xinhua, during the meeting Liu commended Zuckerberg for Facebook’s “advanced” technology and, all too appropriately, his management methods. He praised the CEO for his “cooperative” attitude regarding the country’s strict Internet regulations and added that China “hopes (Facebook) can strengthen exchanges, share experiences and improve mutual understanding with China’s Internet companies.”
The meeting comes nearly 7 years after Facebook was banned from the country following civil rioting that was organized using social media. China’s recent tightening of Internet restrictions regarding foreign online publishers follows a confirmation from China’s Internet czar, Lu Wei, that the country has no plans to lift their foreign website ban any time soon.
Zuckerberg has made multiple attempts at currying favor with the Chinese government in hopes of building enough goodwill to convince the government to reverse their social media ban and allow Facebook access to nearly 700 million Chinese citizens with Internet access. During the meeting, the Facebook CEO shared his praise of China’s advanced Internet and assured Liu of his vow to work with the country to “build a better world in cyberspace.”
Steven Dong, professor at the Communications University of China, told the Global Times that Zuckerberg’s visit “sets a good example for foreign countries hoping to enter China’s market” because “unlike many foreign business elites who hold old-fashioned prejuice against China, Zuckerberg has been friendly to the country.” And while Chinese officials continue to step up their control over the country’s Internet, Chinese cyber security expert Qin An believes it is “highly possible” that the social media site would be reinstated should Facebook’s “relatively lax” filter system be “improved according to Chinese laws.”
There are just too many punchlines in this article to fully expound upon, but I want to leave you with this:
Jack Ma, the Executive Chairman of Chinese company Alibaba Group Holdings praised Zuckerberg for running a “great company” and his respect of Chinese culture: “He respects the Chinese and Oriental culture by instinct, not because he wants to make money. (emphasis added)”
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