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Facebook chief meets with China's top propaganda official

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has held a rare meeting with China's propaganda chief in Beijing. Zuckerberg has long courted China in a bid to see its ban on foreign social media platforms reversed.

Zuckerberg, the site's co-founder, met China's propaganda head Liu Yunshan in Beijing on Saturday as part of a charm offensive in one of the few major markets where the US-based social media network is barred from operating.

The 31-year-old billionaire has long courted China's leaders in an attempt to access the country with the world's largest number of Internet users - 668 million as of last year.

Liu Yunshan told the tech executive that he hopes Facebook can share its experience with Chinese companies to help "Internet development better benefit the people of all countries," China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Chinese authorities are tightening control over Internet use in the world's most populous country. Earlier this year, Beijing introduced new rules over online publications, which may place further curbs on foreign internet businesses operating in the Asian giant.

Beijing has decreed that online content publishers should "promote core socialist values" and spread ideas, morals and knowledge that improve the quality of the nation and promote economic development.

Dodging questions

China Peking Treffen Zuckerberg Jack Ma Facebook Alibaba

Zuckerberg pictured with China's Alibaba Group chief executive, Jack Ma

Zuckerberg was in Beijing to attend an economic forum, where he spoke about the promise of artificial intelligence - particularly concerning devices such as self-driving cars and medical diagnostics.

He dodged reporters' questions about Facebook's interest in tapping into the Chinese market and sidestepped sensitive issues, talking more broadly instead about technology and his family.

"The one thing I am extremely optimistic about for China is the emphasis on engineering," he said.

China has called for the

creation of a global Internet "governance system" and cooperation between countries to regulate Internet use,

stepping up efforts to promote controls that democracy advocates complain stifle free expression.

jar/gsw (AP, Reuters)

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