Author: Bai Tiantian
Posted on: Global Times, March 3rd,2017
China opposes using Internet to interfere
China for the first time outlined its policies on global cyberspace cooperation as the country vowed to enhance its military cyber defense capability and push for global legitimization of cyber sovereignty.
China has led the way in defining and legitimizing cyber sovereignty since President Xi Jinping put forward the idea at the World Internet Conference in 2015 in Wuzhen, East China’s Zhejiang Province.
The term refers to the rights of each country to choose how to develop and regulate its own Internet.
China and the US differ in the concept of cyberspace governance as the US advocates rulemaking with all Internet participants on an equal footing, while China supports rulemaking with an underlined concept of sovereignty.
Long Zhou, an official from the Office for Cyber Affairs under the Chinese foreign ministry, defended China’s proposition when asked whether enforcing cyber sovereignty would hurt people’s rights.
«The concept of cyber sovereignty and the free flow of information are not contradictory,» Long said Thursday at a press conference held in Beijing to elaborate on the Cyberspace International Cooperation Strategy which was released the previous day. The principle of cyber sovereignty has been widely accepted by the international community, he said.
«The idea of sovereignty is the cornerstone of international relations, and the principle also applies to cyberspace,» he said.
«The current cyber security situation is severe and citizens alone are not able to deal with cybercrime and cyber terrorism … Only when we apply the rules of cyber sovereignty can we protect human rights and freedom,» Long noted.
The Cyberspace International Cooperation Strategy, jointly released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cyberspace Administration, states that enhanced defense capability in cyberspace is an important part of China’s endeavor to modernize its national defense and armed forces.
It orders that China will expedite the development of a cyber force and enhance capabilities in situational awareness, supporting State activities and participating in international cooperation.
China is the victim of a constant flow of cyber-attacks. According to data from the Cyberspace Administration of China, more than 10,000 websites are tampered with every month, and about 80 percent of government websites have suffered attacks, mainly originating in the US.
Long refuted accusations that the Chinese government has sponsored cyber-attacks against the US, and stressed that China, too, has major concerns over cyber security.
«We are not like some people who always label themselves as victims and point their fingers at others. We firmly oppose and harshly punish hacking activities. This stance is consistent and clear,» he said, without naming the US.
When asked to comment on the alleged Russian hacking of the US presidential election, Long said China believes that countries should use negotiation and dialogue to solve disputes, instead of resorting to confrontation.
«We need mutual trust rather than groundless speculation on these issues,» Long noted.
The report said defending China’s cyber sovereignty, security and development interests is one of the country’s strategic goals in global cyberspace cooperation.
«China resolutely opposes any country using the Internet to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs,» the report reads. It also claims that the buildup of cyber weapons and rising use of threats in cyberspace is not conducive to global security and strategic trust.
The other goals listed in the strategy report include promoting the rule of law in global cyberspace governance and developing international rules for the Internet.
Zuo Xiaodong, deputy director of the China Information Security Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the cyber cooperation strategy completes the top-level design of how China envisions the cyberspace, following the release of a strategy on the country’s cyber security and another on its informationization development last year.
«China wants to be a leader in global governance and cyberspace is part of it … As the Internet becomes a global topic, it has also become a crucial part of foreign relations,» Zuo said.