ZUCKERBERG, who has long sought market access to China, where Facebook is blocked, was quoted by Chinalco as saying he purchased several copies of Xi’s book so he and colleagues could learn about “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
The California-based company did not immediately respond to inquiries regarding the visit to Facebook’s offices by internet regulator Lu Wei.
The gesture, interpreted as an effort by Zuckerberg to court the government, disappointed and angered activists in China, who have long held the social networking company in high regard for its ability to share information beyond the controls of the ruling Communist Party.
“Mr Zuckerberg is either ignorant of China’s politics or shameless,” said prominent dissident Hu Jia, who called Lu a top enemy of internet freedom and expressed worry that technology giants such as Facebook were kowtowing to Beijing for their own business interests.
“He is an internet genius who should understand the power of technology for social change.”
Chinalco, controlled by China’s Internet Information Office and another government agency, said the photo was taken at Facebook’s Menlo Park office and that Xi’s book The Governance of China was at Zuckerberg’s workstation when he hosted Lu.
“I bought this book for my colleagues as well,” Zuckerberg was quoted as telling Lu.
“I want them to understand socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The photo shows a beaming Lu sitting in Zuckerberg’s work chair, with the Facebook founder smiling and standing next to him.