With protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act causing internet shutdowns in several parts of India, the online edition of People’s Daily published a commentary on Tuesday, stating that “necessary regulation of the internet is a reasonable choice of sovereign countries based on national interests” and is a “natural extension of national sovereignty in cyberspace”.
Citing India’s example of shutting down the internet in Assam and Meghalaya to control protests, the commentary noted, “It means that shutting down the internet in a state of emergency should be standard practice for sovereign countries.”
“The internet shutdown in India has once again proved that the necessary regulation of the internet is a reasonable choice of sovereign countries based on national interests, and a natural extension of national sovereignty in cyberspace,” states a piece by Qing Qiu in People’s Daily Online, the online edition of the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China.
Further, the author states: “The Internet cannot be independent of national sovereignty. It is a routine operation for governments all over the world to manage the internet based on national interests, including shutting down the internet in a state of emergency.”
Noting that since the 1950s, America has seen India as an example of democracy in Asia, the commentary states: “India did not hesitate to shut down the internet in these two states to cope when there is a significant threat to national security. When China’s Xinjiang region faced a similar national security threat a few years ago, the Chinese government responded with a similar strategy. However, it attracted sharp criticism from mainstream media in Europe and the U.S.”
Further, the author writes that the internet was first adopted in developed countries within Europe and America, “which determines that these countries inevitably have a different cognitive concept from others. They strive to spread their jurisdiction online and squeeze the sovereignty of developing countries” and “are confident that they can be “immunize” themselves to threats and challenges arising online”.
In the case of India, the commentary notes that “India will not hesitate to shut down the internet if it is necessary to safeguard national security.” While in the US, “the birthplace of the internet, deleting content, shutting down accounts, and conducting extensive surveillance in response to national security concerns have become routine operations,” the commentary states.