At the first World Internet Conference in 2014, an unknown party distributed a draft joint statement affirming the right of individual nations to develop, use, and govern the Internet, a concept Chinese leader Xi Jinping calls cyber sovereignty. Attendees received a draft of the statement overnight, slid under their hotel doors. Some objected to the statement, and the organizers made no mention of it in the conference's final day.
World Internet Conference organizers have denied entry to reporters for certain Western media outlets, such as The New York Times.
Reporters Without Borders called for a boycott of the 2015 World Internet Conference.
The second World Internet Conference, also held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang was attended by notable figures including internet entrepreneur Jack Ma, Chinese paramount leader Xi Jinping, and the prime ministers of Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Chinese netizen called it the second third world internet conference,as only eight countries that sent representatives to the Conference score above average of Informatization Development Index.It looked like that China wanted to unite those third world countries which desire for economic aid or deeply doubts of Western democracy. Xi promoted his concept of "internet sovereignty", urging the world to "respect each country’s internet sovereignty, respect each country’s right to choose their own development path and management model of the internet". Xi's speech was praised by Ma. The official Chinese media commented that the General Secretary Xi Jinping's speech showed China was bullish on Internet growth and China would build a "Digital Silk Road for Win-Win Cooperation-Information Infrastructure Partnership". The second World Internet Conference releases the Wuzhen Initiative, which calls on all countries to promote Internet development, foster cultural diversity in cyber space, share the fruits of Internet development, ensure peace and security in cyber space, and improve global Internet governance. However, the event was criticised by Amnesty International, which called on technology companies to boycott the conference. Amnesty International urged tech firms to reject China's position, calling it an attempt to promote censorship and surveillance.
In December 2015 Fadi Chehadé announced that, after he leaves his post as ICANN CEO in March 2016, he will become co-chair of a newly formed advisory committee to the World Internet Conference. The first meeting of the committee will take place in mid 2016.