A Chinese government news portal released a photo Monday of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with a copy of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book on governance at his desk while hosting an Internet official from the country.
Zuckerberg, who has long sought access to the market in China, where Facebook is blocked, is quoted by the portal as saying he purchased several copies of Xi’s book so that he and colleagues could learn about “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The California-based company did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding the visit to Facebook offices by Lu Wei, China’s top Internet regulator.
China.com.cn, controlled by China’s Internet Information Office and another agency, says the photo was taken at Facebook’s Menlo Park office and that Xi’s book “The Governance of China” was at Zuckerberg’s workstation when he hosted Lu.
“I bought this book for my colleagues as well,” Zuckerberg was quoted as telling Lu. “I want them to understand the socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
It was not clear when the visit took place, but Lu was in the United States last week to attend a Chinese-American Internet conference, at which Beijing pushed for a louder voice in the management of the Internet. It also argued in favour of the concept of “information sovereignty,” which can help justify Beijing’s tight controls over Internet information.
Zuckerberg surprised Chinese college students in Beijing in October when he chatted with them for 30 minutes in Mandarin, in a gesture widely seen as an attempt to court China’s good will. China.com.cn said Zuckerberg gave Lu a tour of the company’s office in Mandarin.
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