President Xi underscores China's stance of tightening online controls

China's President Xi Jinping has underscored his country's stance of tightening online controls in a video message at an international conference about the internet.

Xi addressed the opening ceremony of the World Internet Conference in the eastern province of Zhejiang by video on Wednesday.

He noted that the internet is becoming a new driving force for development.

Xi stressed the need to respect each country's development paths and governance means for cyberspace, a remark seen as an attempt to justify Beijing's internet regulations.

China blocks access to online services such as search engine Google and video-sharing site YouTube.

There have been a number of cases in which posts on social media that are objectionable to the Chinese government have been deleted, or viewing of such messages has been restricted.

Late last month, China's major social media platforms asked users with at least 500,000 followers to disclose their real names, in response to government policy.

The international community is raising concerns over Beijing's tight grip on the internet. A report released this year by a US-based international human rights group put China's ranking as the world's worst abuser of internet freedom for the ninth consecutive year.