China's Internet regulator wants Communist Party's voice to be the 'strongest in cyberspace'

Customers at an Internet cafe in Shanghai.
Customers at an Internet cafe in Shanghai. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's Internet regulator has vowed to make the views of the ruling Communist Party the"strongest voice in cyberspace", as part of efforts to strengthen its tightening grip on the Internet in the world's most populous country.

Following a two-day meeting the Cyberspace Administration of China also said a priority this year would be "using Chinese views, Chinese plans to lead to a transformation in the governance system of the Internet globally".

Chinese President Xi Jinping has championed a vision for cyberspace in which Internet 'sovereignty' rests in the hands of nations that can control the flow of information and fence off certain online content as they please.

Since Mr Xi took China's helm in early 2013, he has presided over a centralisation of domestic Internet governance and broader efforts to control and often censor information online, experts say.

Those efforts are aimed at maintaining stability, seen by the ruling Communist Party as a critical pillar of its rule.

This year, the administration would strive to "let the party's achievements in theoretical innovation and practical accomplishments become the highly held main tone and key themes in cyberspace", it said in a statement posted on its website late on Wednesday (Jan 6).

The work conference also discussed ways to improve the governance of cyberspace, but the report did not give details.

China infamously operates a "Great Firewall", the world's most sophisticated online censorship system which blocks - and, as of this year, also attacks - Internet services the government deems unsavory.