by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 17th 2010 8:51pm
Neelie Kroes, currently VP of the European Commission (and previously EU Commissioner of competition), is apparently claiming that China's Great Firewall of internet censorship is really a trade issue, that should be reviewed by the WTO for trade violations. This isn't the first time this has been suggested, but previous discussions never went anywhere. Now, restricting access to web information and websites can certainly be a trade issue. The fact that many of the websites blocked by China are foreign-run businesses, you can make an argument that China is protecting local companies. But, China has a pretty big trump card: it doesn't care. The WTO could rule however it wants, and China will just say that it's not a trade issue, but rather a way of protecting citizens from content it deems dangerous -- and will then point to Australia's attempted internet censorship along with things like ACTA, to point out that lots of countries seek to put limitations on internet content they deem "bad." So call it what you want, it doesn't seem likely that any WTO action will convince China to change.
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