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India's internet shutdown shows normal practice for sovereign countries

By Qing Qiu (People's Daily Online)    11:13, December 17, 2019

India recently ordered a shutdown of the internet in the states of Assam and Meghalaya to control protests over the controversial new Citizenship Amendment Bill. It means that shutting down the internet in a state of emergency should be standard practice for sovereign countries.

Since the 1950s, America has seen India as an example of democracy in Asia. In the so-called Indo-Pacific Strategy Report released by the U.S., India is viewed as an important geopolitical partner of the U.S., as the two countries share a common ideology and similar political system.

India, meanwhile, is the world's second-largest internet market with more than 650 million connected users; the states of Assam and Meghalaya alone boast 32 million netizens.

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.

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.

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.

Threats to the core interests of sovereign states spread unevenly throughout different historical periods, and developed countries in Europe and the United States are confident that they can be "immunize" themselves to threats and challenges arising online.

However, that is not the case. India will not hesitate to shut down the internet if it is necessary to safeguard national security. In the U.S., 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 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. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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