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The government tightened online controls in advance of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in October 2017, at which President Xi Jinping, the party’s general secretary, cemented his leadership for the next five years.
“Cyberspace sovereignty” has been a top policy goal under Xi, and related legal changes were incorporated into a cybersecurity law adopted in November 2016.
The drive to codify what were previously ad hoc censorship and surveillance strategies persisted during the coverage period, with new regulations to license digital tools like VPNs that are used to circumvent website blocking by the centralized censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall.
Other new restrictions targeted citizen journalism, and several sought to prevent websites from republishing “unverified” news from social media.
The CNNIC reported that 52 percent of all internet users were male.
Akamai, which measures access to the global internet, registered slower average speeds (see Availability and Ease of Access: Key Indicators).
“Broadband China,” a government strategy issued in 2013, aimed to boost penetration to 70 percent nationwide by 2020 and increase connection speeds to 50 Mbps in cities and 12 Mbps in rural areas, with even faster Gbps speeds promised in bigger cities.
State-owned China Mobile, along with China Telecom and China Unicom, dominate the mobile market.
In 2014, the government formally authorized the three major players to set pricing for services according to market forces, resulting in price cuts.