Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is officially banned in China since 2009, but it is no reason for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to shy away from China’s big bosses. In a recent show of camaraderie, Zuckerberg was seen in a photograph posted on Monday in a Chinese government news website while hosting Lu Wei, China’s chief internet regulator. The report detailed Lu as visiting the campuses of U.S. tech leaders Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Facebook. At Facebook headquarters, Zuckerberg and Lu happily greeted each other with smiles in Mandarin, although it was not stated when exactly the visit took place and for what purpose.
The photo also revealed that Zuckerberg also has a copy of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book “The Governance of China”, an English translation of a collection of the speeches of China’s Communist Party head. Zuckerberg reportedly told Lu that he purchased several copies of the book so that he and his colleagues at Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could learn “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Apart from learning about “Chinese socialism”, the Facebook CEO also wowed Chinese audience earlier in October this year by chatting with Beijing students in a 30-minute question and answer session, speaking in near fluent Mandarin during the event. That move, along with the current news of hospitable conversations with Lu, is widely seen as Facebook’s steps towards official acceptance in Chinese cyberspace world.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), however, have earned the ire of Chinese dissidents over Zuckerberg’s reported urging of his colleagues to read Xi’s book. In a report by The Telegraph, China’s most outspoken activist Hu Jia is quoted as saying that the Facebook CEO “knows nothing about Xi, nothing about China, even though he is studying Chinese”. He added that in China, the enemies of the internet are the “Communist Party, Xi Jinping and Lu Wei.” Zhang Ming, a political science professor at Renmin University, noted that Zuckerberg’s comments comes at a time of major government crackdowns on opposition; with academics, activists, and human rights advocates being put to jail.
China’s 600 million internet users are currently denied access to social networking sites including Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). Lu, defending China’s blocking of several sites, told reporters in October that the country is always hospitable but can always choose who is allowed to enter its house. Regarding Facebook, Lu said: “I didn’t say Facebook could not enter China, but nor did I say that it could.”
This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.