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New policy opposes web hegemony

An Baijie/Wang Qingyun
Updated: Mar 2,2017 7:20 AM     China Daily

China firmly opposes any country using the internet to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, according to the country’s first strategic report on cyberspace, released on March 1.

The International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace, jointly issued by the Foreign Ministry and the Cyberspace Administration of China, advocates the principles of peace, sovereignty, shared governance and international cooperation in cyberspace.

“No country should pursue cyberhegemony, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, or engage in, condone or support cyberactivities that undermine other countries’ national security,” the report said.

Countries should respect each other’s right to choose their own path of cyberdevelopment, the report said.

It was the first strategic report on the internet that China has released.

Safeguarding national sovereignty and security on the internet ranks first among the six strategic goals of China’s participation in international cyberspace cooperation. The other goals include ensuring a secure and orderly flow of information, improving global connectivity, and maintaining peace and stability.

The report also said enhanced defense capability in cyberspace is an important part of China’s endeavor to modernize its national defense.

“China will give play to the important role of the military in safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests in cyberspace,” it said.

The report pointed out that China, as a victim of hacking, opposes all such activities and regards them as illegal.

China’s strategy is “a major contribution” to building a new order of governance for cyberspace, according to Shen Yi, a researcher on cyberspace governance at Fudan University.

“The principle of sovereignty” elaborated in the strategy, he said, is “a very important characteristic” of China’s proposal to foster a community of a shared future in cyberspace.

“Only on the basis of admitting equal sovereignty among countries can they join the global cyberspace community with assurance,” he said.

Zuo Xiaodong, vice-president of the China Information Security Research Institute, said the strategy has “great significance” because it makes the country’s position clear on international issues related to cyberspace.

“Cyberspace is having an increasingly direct and obvious influence on political, military, diplomatic and commercial ties between countries,” Zuo said, adding that it has become an important part of China’s diplomacy.

The goals and principles elaborated in the strategy show China’s basic position over major issues in international cyberspace, which faces challenges of “unbalanced development, inadequate rules and inequitable order”, Zuo said.

“Cyberspace needs rules that are accepted by all parties and should be governed properly,” he said, adding that countries should work together on global issues like cybersecurity.