WTO to Investigate Great Firewall of China

Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, has told reporters in Shanghai that China's national firewall should be investigated by the World trade Organisation (WTO).

Ms Kroes, who served as European Commissioner for competition until 2009, made the comments to journalists during a visit to the Chinese headquarters of video-sharing company Tudou. Google's popular video site YouTube is blocked by the Chinese government she noted.

"It is one of those issues that needs to be tackled within the WTO," said Kroes, according to Reuters.

"I am pushing wherever I can just to get European enterprises a level playing field in China and the other way around. It should be reciprocal,"

She said that Western social networking sites were operating at a disadvantage due to the restrictions the Chinese government placed on internet content and this would need to be addressed.

In previous cases the WTO has upheld China's right to censor content coming into its markets but this latest announcement seems to indicate that the EU will be looking to revise that verdict, not on ethical grounds but on those of competition.

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