US websites such as Twitter and Facebook could be facing a much tougher time smashing through the great firewall of China, after the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, Chinese newspapers have suggested.
Pro-government Global Times said in its leader on Tuesday that China needed to break the US monopoly on the web, and stop its so-called world domination via the internet.
The newspaper's editorial read: "We believe that Snowden's revelations are just the tip of an iceberg. If more 'Snowdens' step forward in the future, the world should support them as much as possible.
Chinese netizens use computers at an Internet cafe in Fuyang in central China's Anhui province
"Washington keeps a firm grip of the Internet where it abuses its power. But other countries are not united in fighting US hegemony in cyberspace," the paper continued.
"Along with the expansion of American Internet barons which have extremely close relations with Washington, the ownership the Internet is now being used by Washington to serve its own interests. Snowden sounded the alarm, and we cannot cover our ears.
"We are not making a fuss [an exaggeration] over such concerns. As the Internet continues to merge with our real lives, our shallow knowledge about it has left us lagging behind, emboldening the US to expand influence.
"We should sort out the situation and break the US' monopoly in cyberspace, formulating regulations on an equal footing with Washington.
"Although the whistle-blowing affair has been "suppressed," China still needs to make a thorough analysis on the causes and effects of this incident, or we will become the biggest fish in the net of the "World Washington Web."
Bill Bishop, a US-China analyst based in Beijing, said in his daily briefing 'Sinocism' that the sentiments could have implications for US websites hoping to get a bite of the Chinese web.
"If Zuckerberg had any remaining shred of hope that Facebook could come to China, he can kiss it goodbye thanks to Snowden," Bishop said.
The country already has extremely popular equivalents to social networking sites to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, RenRen, Baidu and Sina Weibo, but they are heavily censored.
China is said to be furious at the revelations that US government agencies targeted its internet companies and mobile phone networks, including Tsinghua University.
Another editorial in China's People's Daily, lauded Snowden as a hero whose "fearlessness that tore off Washington's sanctimonious mask".
Snowden's whereabouts remain a mystery after the NSA whistleblower failed to board a plane from Moscow, Russia to Havana, Cuba on Monday morning.
Snowden was reported to have arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport over the weekend, although no concrete evidence has emerged in the past 24 hours that Snowden is in fact in Russia, though Hong Kong authorities confirmed he had left their territory.
According to Reuters, Snowden told his Hong Kong lawyer Albert Ho that an individual claiming to represent the Hong Kong government had contacted him and indicated he should leave the city, and wouldn't be stopped by authorities.
"One hundred percent there was communication between Hong Kong and the (Chinese) central government regarding how to handle Snowden," a source in Beijing who has direct knowledge of the case told Reuters.
"China did not want to offend the United States and was happy for Snowden to leave," the source said, but admitted he was unaware if there had been any direct contact between Snowden and Chinese officials.