Chinese President, Xi Jinping (L) talks with Johann-Schneider Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation (not pictured) during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 8, 2016. / AFP / POOL / KENZABURO FUKUHARA
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China's online censorship system protects national security and does not discriminate against foreign companies, the country's internet regulator said, after the United States labelled the blocking of websites by Beijing a trade barrier.The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) wrote in an annual report that over the past year China's web censorship has worsened, presenting a significant burden to foreign firms and internet users.China has long operated the world's most sophisticated online censorship mechanism, widely known outside the country as the Great Firewall, though USTR had not listed it as a trade impediment since 2013, when Xi Jinping became China's president.A 2016 survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China showed 79 percent of its members reported a negative impact on business due to internet censorship.
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