Collectively Construct a Neighborhood with a Shared Future in Our on-line world
Editor’s Note: China’s State Council Information Office on Monday issued a white paper titled “Jointly Build a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace.” Full text below:
I.Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace Is Essential in the Information Age
II.Development and Management of the Internet in China
III.China’s Contribution to Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace
IV.China’s Proposals on Creating a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace
The internet is an important human achievement and a symbol of the arrival of the information age. As a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation accelerates, the internet has turned the world into a global village, and the international community is becoming more and more interconnected, with a shared future becoming more apparent. It is the responsibility of all of humanity to develop, use, and manage the internet well and make it more beneficial to mankind.
Since China gained full access to the internet, it has always been committed to promoting internet development and governance. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has adhered to the philosophy of people-centered development and attached great importance to the internet. China engages in vigorous development, active use, and effective governance of the internet, and has made historic progress in relevant undertakings. Hundreds of millions of Chinese people have a greater sense of gain from sharing the achievements of internet development, and have contributed to building a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace.
With the rapid development of the internet, the governance of cyberspace is facing ever more prominent problems. General Secretary Xi Jinping has proposed the important concept of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace, and elaborated a series of major principles and proposals for global internet development and governance. His proposal conforms to the development trends of the information age and of human society. It responds to the risks and challenges facing cyberspace, demonstrates the CPC’s commitment to contributing to human progress and world harmony, and reinforces China’s sincere desire to strengthen internet development and governance cooperation with other countries. In the new era, China’s international cooperation in cyberspace, under the vision of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace, has continued to achieve new progress, new breakthroughs, and new prospects.
This white paper introduces China’s vision of internet development and governance in the new era and its actions, shares its achievements in promoting the building of a community with a shared future in cyberspace, and outlines the prospects for international cooperation.
I. Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace Is Essential in the Information Age
Interconnection is the basic nature of cyberspace. Sharing and co-governance is the common vision of internet development. With the rapid development of global information technology, the internet has penetrated into all aspects of human life and work. As a consequence, humanity is increasingly confronted with development and security challenges in cyberspace, which must be addressed through joint efforts.
1. A community with a shared future in cyberspace is an important part of a global community of shared future
The world is presently undergoing a period of profound changes on a scale unseen in a century. A new revolution in science, technology and industry is gaining momentum. The Covid-19 epidemic has had a far-reaching impact, while the forces of unilateralism, protectionism, and opposition to globalization are on the rise. The world economic recovery is sluggish, frequent regional conflicts and turmoil erupt, and global problems are intensifying. The world has entered a new period of turbulence and change.
Problems with the internet such as unbalanced development, unsound regulation, and unreasonable order are becoming more prominent. Cyber-hegemonism poses a new threat to world peace and development.
Certain countries are exploiting the internet and information technology as a tool to seek hegemony, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, and engage in large-scale cyber theft and surveillance, raising the risk of conflict in cyberspace.
Some countries attempt to decouple with others, and create schism and confrontation in cyberspace. The increasingly complex cybersecurity situation calls for more just, reasonable and effective cyberspace governance. Global threats and challenges in cyberspace necessitate strong global responses.
China is the world’s largest developing country and the country with the largest number of internet users. It understands the underlying trends of the information age; upholds a people-centered approach; and supports global governance based on extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. China insists that the building of a community with a shared future in cyberspace should be based on multilateral and multiparty participation and consultation, respect for cyber sovereignty, and a spirit of partnership; and the international community should be encouraged to expand pragmatic cooperation and jointly deal with associated risks and challenges. The goal of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace conforms to the developments of the information age and meets the needs and expectations of the people throughout the world. It is a plan that China contributes to the global efforts to promote the development and governance of cyberspace on the basis of respecting cyber sovereignty.
The community with a shared future in cyberspace is an important part of a global community of shared future. Related concepts and proposals on development, security, governance and universal benefits are in conformity with the concepts of a global community of shared future and the distinctive features of cyberspace; and promoting a community with a shared future in cyberspace will provide abundant digital impetus, a solid security safeguard, and a broader consensus on cooperation to this end.
2. Build a community of development, security, responsibility and shared interests
To build a community with a shared future in cyberspace, we should hold to a vision of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, and promote a multilateral, democratic and transparent international internet governance system. We strive to realize the goals of innovation-driven development, security, order, equality, respect, openness, and shared interests in cyberspace, so that cyberspace will be a community that benefits all of humanity.
Build a community of development. As the integration and innovation of a new generation of information and communication technologies accelerates, digital, networking and intelligent technologies have increased their penetration throughout the economy and society, profoundly changing people’s approaches to life and work. However, imbalances in internet penetration, infrastructure construction, technological innovation and creation, the digital economy, digital literacy, and skills affect and restrict IT development and digital transformation around the world, especially in developing countries. To build a community of development, we should adopt more active, inclusive, coordinated, and beneficial policies to accelerate the construction of global information infrastructure and provide developing countries with accessible, affordable and useful internet services. We will give full play to the role of the digital economy as an engine in global economic development, and actively promote digital industrialization and industrial digital transformation.
Build a community of security. Security is a prerequisite for development. A secure, stable and prosperous cyberspace is of great significance to all countries. Cybersecurity is a global challenge, and no country can remain in isolation. Safeguarding cybersecurity is the shared responsibility of the international community. Building a community of security is to uphold the concept of open and cooperative cybersecurity, attach equal importance to security and development, and encourage and regulate both. We will strengthen international cooperation in protecting critical information infrastructure and data security, maintain information technology neutrality and industrial globalization, and jointly curb the abuse of information technology. We should strengthen strategic mutual trust, share timely information on cyber threats, effectively coordinate the handling of major cybersecurity incidents, cooperate to combat cyber terrorism and crimes, and jointly safeguard peace and security in cyberspace.
Build a community of responsibility. Cyberspace is a common space for human activities, and it should be jointly controlled by all countries. To build a community of responsibility is to adhere to multilateral participation and multiparty participation, and actively promote reform and development of the global internet governance system. We should leverage the role of the United Nations as the main channel in international cyberspace governance, and give play to the role of government, international organizations, internet companies, technical communities, social organizations and individual citizens to promote mutual trust and coordinated and orderly cooperation. To make the governance system more just and equitable, we should improve dialogue and consultation mechanisms, jointly study and formulate norms for cyberspace governance, and reflect the interests and concerns of all parties in a more balanced way, especially those of developing countries.
Build a community of shared interests. The achievements of internet development and governance should be shared by all countries to ensure that different countries, ethnic groups, and peoples all enjoy the dividends of internet development on an equal basis. Building a community of shared interests means putting people first, promoting science and technology for good, and making the digital economy more inclusive. We should step up policy support to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises use new-generation information technology to promote innovation in products, services, processes, organizations and business models, so that these enterprises can share more opportunities from the development of the digital economy. We should attend to the protection of vulnerable groups on the internet, strengthen the cultivation of internet ethics and civilization, promote the healthy development of internet culture and foster a sound cyber environment. We should promote inclusive development on a global scale, reinforce the cyber development capabilities of developing countries, bridge the digital divide, share the achievements of internet development, and facilitate the effective implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
3. Basic principles for building a community with a shared future in cyberspace
To build a community with a shared future in cyberspace, we should adhere to the following basic principles:
Respect cyber sovereignty. The principle of sovereign equality, as enshrined in the UN Charter, is a fundamental norm governing contemporary international relations in cyberspace. The rights of all countries to choose their own path of network development and governance model, and to equally participate in international governance in cyberspace should be respected. All countries have the right to formulate public policies, laws, and regulations on cyberspace in the context of their national conditions and international experience. No country should seek cyber hegemony; use the internet to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs; engage in, incite, or support cyber activities that endanger other countries’ national security, or infringe on other countries’ key information infrastructure.
Safeguard peace and security. A secure and stable cyberspace is important for the common wellbeing of humanity. All countries should persevere in resolving disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation, comprehensively addressing traditional and non-traditional security threats, and ensuring peace and security in cyberspace. Countries should oppose hostile cyber actions and aggression, prevent arms race and armed conflicts in cyberspace, and prevent and oppose terrorism, obscenity, drug trafficking, money laundering, gambling, and other criminal activities in cyberspace. All parties should abandon the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game and double standards; seek peace through cooperation; and strive to achieve their own security through common security.
Promote openness and cooperation. Openness is a prerequisite for international cooperation in cyberspace and an important condition for building a community with a shared future in cyberspace. All countries should uphold the concept of openness, pursue open policies, improve the level of openness, and jointly promote the sound development of the internet. We will actively build bilateral, regional and international cooperation platforms; increase the complementarity of resource strengths; maintain a global system of coordinated innovation; and promote the inclusive development of different systems, ethnic groups, and cultures in cyberspace. We oppose politicizing cybersecurity issues. We oppose trade protectionism. We oppose narrow-minded factionalism. We oppose dividing the internet and exploiting one’s own strengths to undermine the security of other countries’ supply chains in information and communications technology (ICT) products and services.
Maintain good order. Cyberspace, like the real world, values both freedom and order. Freedom is the purpose of order, and order is the guarantee of freedom. It respects the rights of netizens to exchange ideas and express their wishes, and seeks a sound cyber order in accordance with the law. Cyberspace is not an “extrajudicial place”. Cyberspace is virtual, but the users of cyberspace are real and they should abide by the law and the rights and obligations of all parties should be clarified. We will continue to manage, run, and use the internet in accordance with the law, and ensure that the internet operates in a sound manner based on the rule of law. We will strengthen the development of cyber ethics and civilization, employ the guiding role of moral education, and use the outstanding achievements of human civilization to nourish cyberspace and preserve the online environment.
II. Development and Management of the Internet in China
China regards the internet as a platform for opening up and cooperation, where good order and positive energy benefit the people. In the new development stage and guided by the new development philosophy, the country is building a new development dynamic. It is set to build up its strength in cyberspace and digital technologies. Progress has been made in boosting the digital economy, building a clean and sound online environment, and guarding against risks to cyberspace security. This has provided sound services, support and a guarantee for high-quality development, and laid solid foundations for building a community with a shared future in cyberspace.
1. Booming digital economy
China has advanced the construction of information infrastructure and spread the application of the internet. Driven by information technology (IT) innovation, it is growing new industries, new business forms, and new business models, and moving faster to develop the digital economy for deeper integration with the real economy, and to foster new growth drivers for new development. According to the statistics provided by research agencies, by 2021, the value of the digital economy had reached 45.5 trillion yuan, accounting for 39.8 percent of GDP and becoming a major growth engine. China’s digital economy has ranked second worldwide for many years.
The scale of information infrastructure construction continues to grow. By June 2022, there were 1.05 billion internet users in China, and the internet penetration rate had reached 74.4 percent. A total of 1.85 million 5G cell towers had been built with 455 million 5G cell phone subscribers. China hosts the world’s largest 5G network and becomes one of global leaders in 5G standards and technology. China also takes the lead in realizing the large-scale commercial use of standalone (SA) 5G. China has conducted international cooperation in 5G technological innovation, development, and construction, and made important contributions to global 5G penetration. It has updated the Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) on its backbone networks, metropolitan area networks, and LTE networks, and increased the IPv6 support of main internet websites and applications. By July 2022, China had 697 million active IPv6 users.
The BeiDou-3 global navigation satellite system is now operational, and began to provide global services in July 2020. In 2021 China’s satellite navigation and positioning services generated 469 billion yuan of industrial output. By year end there were more than one billion terminal products with BeiDou positioning functions in use, and more than 7.9 million automobiles and 100,000 automatic driving farming vehicles had installed the BeiDou system. Moreover, medical and health devices, remote monitoring, online services and other downstream service sectors reported nearly 200 billion yuan of output value. The BeiDou industrial system is in place and provides notable economic and social benefits.
Digital technological innovation and application continue to make progress. China vigorously cultivates new technologies and applications such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and next-generation communication networks to accelerate the transformation from digitalization and network-based service to artificial intelligence in various economic and social sectors. Innovation has become a defining feature in the country. The big data industry is growing swiftly, with a compound annual growth rate exceeding 30 percent during the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020). In 2021 large internet companies and related service businesses generated 1.55 trillion yuan of revenue, up 21.2 percent year on year. The fields such as smart industry, smart transport, intelligent health, and smart energy have become areas of rapid growth in the number of industrial IoT connections.
The industrial internet has grown rapidly, and the digital transformation of manufacturing industry continues. By February 2022, 55.3 percent of the key processes of large industrial enterprises had become digitally controlled, and the application of digital R&D tools was as high as 74.7 percent. The Action Plan for Industrial Internet Development (2018-2020) was formulated, and an innovation and development initiative for the industrial internet has been carried out, stimulating nearly 70 billion yuan of investment and incubating four national industrial internet demonstration bases and 258 pilot projects. The Action Plan for Innovation and Development of the Industrial Internet (2021-2023) is now being implemented. Compatible industrial internet infrastructure has boosted the connectivity between enterprises, equipment, and products, as well as contacts between people.
The digital transformation of agriculture is making steady progress. 5G, the IoT, big data and AI have been applied in agricultural production and management, and key technological development and innovative application research for intelligent agriculture and farming machinery have been strengthened. China has launched pilot agricultural IoT projects, carried out smart irrigation projects, digital management and smart renovation of public irrigation infrastructure, promoted big data application in agriculture and rural areas, and built an information service system covering the whole agricultural production process. China has built the world’s second largest databank and information system of species resources, developed the “golden seeding platform”, and spread digital management services for agricultural equipment.
Digitalization and the provision of digital capacity continue to grow. E-commerce is flourishing. In 2021, China’s online retail sales stood at 10.8 trillion yuan, up 12 percent year-on-year and accounting for 24.5 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods. The turnover in China’s cross-border e-commerce reached 1.92 trillion yuan, up 18.6 percent year-on-year. The scale of third-party payment transactions continues to expand. New methods have been introduced to upgrade commercial models of the service industry, and internet-based medical services, online education, and remote working have accelerated the digitalization of the service industry. The capacity in cross-border payment for digital services keeps increasing. In 2021, China’s trade in digitally deliverable services reached 2.33 trillion yuan, up 14.4 percent year-on-year.
2. Digital technology benefits the people
China has developed the internet extensively, with the aim of benefiting the people. As part of its efforts to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, guided by the people-first development philosophy, China has promoted internet application in education, medical services, poverty alleviation, and other public services, improved digital technologies to make such services inclusive and benefit all, and extended the public’s digital literacy and skills.
The internet has helped achieve good results in China’s targeted poverty alleviation. The country implemented the Action Plan for Internet-Aided Poverty Alleviation, making extensive use of the internet in five poverty alleviation projects — internet coverage, rural e-commerce, raising education and skills, information services, and public welfare. China has extended internet access to all poverty-stricken areas. By the end of 2020, 98 percent of all poverty-stricken villages had access to optical services, and more than 12 million people in poverty had benefited from lower internet access fee. Online retail sales in rural areas amounted to 2.05 trillion yuan in 2021, up 11.3 percent year-on-year, and more than 2,400 county-level e-commerce public service and logistic delivery centers had been built across the country, with over 148,000 village e-commerce service outlets. An initial online information service system for poverty alleviation has been established. By the end of 2020, 454,000 information service outlets had been set up to provide services to villagers, remote medical services were available in the hospitals of all poor counties, and basic financial services covered 99.2 percent of all administrative villages. The online sales platform for farm and sideline products from poor regions covered all 832 poor counties across China, more than 90,000 products on the platform for sale, with a transaction value exceeding 9.97 billion yuan. The Social Assistance of China website has 65.34 million registered users, publishing 7.37 million notes of commodity demand, 5.84 million of which successfully matched.
IT application in education has improved. Focusing on information networks, platforms, digital resources, smart campus, innovative applications, and reliability and safety, the construction of new education infrastructure has been accelerated to build a high-quality education support system. The school network connectivity initiative had been completed. By the end of 2021, all primary and middle schools in China had internet access, 99.95 percent of which now have 100M bandwidth. More than 210,000 schools had wireless network services, and 99.5 percent of all schools had multi-media classrooms.
China has launched a national education digitalization initiative. Smart Education of China, an online public service platform, opened in March 2022. This platform merges the resources of national smart education platforms for primary and secondary education, vocational education, and higher education as well as the 24365 online platform that provides employment services for college graduates. To date it has connected 529,000 schools and colleges, reaching 18.44 million teachers, and 291 million students and other learners. It now provides 34,000 videos, articles and handbooks in basic education, 6,628 vocational training courses, and 27,000 higher education courses.
Better IT-based services for people with different needs. Barrier-free access to information services has been increased to help the elderly and people with disabilities enjoy a digital life. Diverse measures have been adopted to create barrier-free conditions for information exchanges among people with disabilities. Effective methods have been introduced to help the elderly with travel, medical services, shopping, cultural, and entertainment activities, and to handle other affairs in their daily life, solving their problems by using smart technology. The internet has also been utilized to protect women’s rights and interests in relation to health, education, and the environment. Notable progress has been made with internet-related protection of minors.
Panel 1 Action Plan for Internet-Aided Poverty Alleviation
Giving full play to the internet in poverty relief, China carried out the Action Plan for Internet-Aided Poverty Alleviation. It includes five projects:
(1) expanding internet coverage in poor areas, accelerating R&D and application of mobile terminals, developing mobile applications for poverty alleviation, and promoting R&D of audio-visual technology using the languages of minority ethnic groups;
(2) developing rural e-commerce, holding online fairs for poverty alleviation, and expanding internet financial services into poverty-stricken areas;
(3) developing internet-based education and skills improvement programs, including internet-based remote education, training of local people and government employees, and helping college graduates work as village officials or start internet-related businesses in rural areas;
(4) launching information service projects, including building a unified poverty alleviation big data platform, featuring one platform for each county, and one outlet for each town, assigning one leading figure in each village, opening one terminal and keeping one record book for each household, fostering a contingent of workers devoted to poverty alleviation, and building a social security network in the poor regions;
(5) carrying out public welfare programs for poverty alleviation, providing paired assistance to poor regions and launching branding campaigns for this purpose.
3. Steadily improving legal framework for cyberspace
China governs cyberspace in accordance with the law, and applies the rule of law as a fundamental measure to develop a sound digital industry and build a standard-based and orderly online environment. It is steadfast in applying the law in governing, running and using the internet, to ensure that the internet develops within the bounds of the law.
A complete cyber law system. China has formulated and enforced a number of fundamental and comprehensive laws that affect the overall situation, including the Electronic Commerce Law of the People’s Republic of China, Electronic Signature Law of the People’s Republic of China, Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China, Data Security Law of the People’s Republic of China, and Personal Information Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China. These laws serve as key pillars of the cyber legislation framework in which the Constitution plays a cardinal role, laws and administrative, divisional, and regional regulations serve as important support, traditional legislation lays the foundations, and specialized cyber laws governing online content management, information technology development, cybersecurity and other elements function as the backbone.
Rigorous cyber law enforcement. China has established a robust mechanism for coordinating cyber law enforcement to crack down on telecom and online fraud, online gambling, online pyramid selling, internet misinformation, cyberbullying, and other crimes. It has taken further steps to enforce the laws for protecting personal information, managing online information and content, and safeguarding cybersecurity and data safety. It always enforces laws in a precise and prompt manner to deter and curb illegal online activities and create an increasingly rule-based and orderly cyberspace.
Introducing new ideas and measures for cyber judiciary work. China actively employs information technology while furthering judiciary reform to make judiciary work more internet-based and transparent. Smart courts and smart procuratorates have been launched to serve the public, rules for online judicial proceedings are being improved, and a new mechanism for internet courts to adjudicate online cases online is becoming increasingly mature.
Spreading knowledge about cyber laws. China prioritizes its efforts to spread legal knowledge and takes law and order as a fundamental task for strengthening the rule of law. It consistently publicizes legal information through online channels. Information on the Constitution, the Cybersecurity Law, Data Security Law, and Personal Information Protection Law and other laws and regulations has been spread on various important occasions like the National Constitution Day, National Security Education Day, National Cybersecurity Week, and Intellectual Property Rights Week. Laws are clearly explained in the form of case studies to raise the public’s legal awareness in cyberspace and web literacy and morality, especially among teenagers. A sound online and social atmosphere for respecting, learning, abiding by, and using the law is taking shape.
4. Rich and varied digital content
Positive and mainstream ideas and opinions are spreading online. New Marxist theories adapted to the context of contemporary China have struck their roots in the hearts of the people. The core socialist values guide online culture. The internet has become a new platform supporting cultural prosperity, a new spiritual home for the public, and a new place for building consensus and concentrating positive energy. Through the internet, China is presenting an accurate, multidimensional and panoramic image to the outside world.
Vigorous positive energy on the internet. Mainstream public opinion is growing in strength; positive and healthy content is increasing; popular views in support of the CPC, socialism, reform and opening up, our great country, and all ethnic groups are resonating among internet users; advanced cultural elements are filling cyberspace. The internet in China is open, harmonious and orderly. In cyberspace, more than one billion Chinese netizens learn what is happening across the world, express and exchange views, participate in state and social governance, build consensus, strength, and unity, and strive for a better future.
Diverse cyberculture. Online videos and audios, literature, music and interactive entertainment are expanding rapidly in China, producing huge volumes of cultural content, and providing the people with rich intellectual nourishment. Digital libraries, museums on “cloud”, online theaters, exhibitions and concerts, VR travel — these high-quality cultural services allow people to enjoy themselves at their homes. A diverse cyberculture also gives birth to various new business modes.
Upgraded means of online communication. Big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and other information technologies are making great progress and expediting innovations in the means and channels of online communication. The public communication media are relying more on mobile devices, employing more engaging ways of expression, and diversifying in form. More and more integrated media products that employ advanced technologies and original designs have emerged. The Party’s voice is spreading faster, farther, and wider, becoming the strongest on the internet in China, and winning wide popular support.
5. Cleaner cyberspace
Cyberspace is a common space for internet users. A clean and sound cyber environment is in the interests of the people, whereas a polluted and degenerate one is against the public interests. China is committed to creating a healthy, civilized, clean and righteous cyber ecosystem.
Launching Operation “Qinglang”. China has launched the campaign to rectify the disorder in cyberspace, which has caused strong public concern. It has tightened regulation, taken rigorous action against online activities that violate the law and regulations, and striven to rein in chaotic fandom culture. The emphasis has been on cleaning up illegal and immoral content, including “porn, obnoxious, abnormal, fake, vulgar and gambling-related content”, and on tackling chronic malpractice on online platforms, with a focus on live-streaming and short video platforms. Efforts have been made to bring under control “internet trolling”, and suppress the operation of antisocial internet accounts. Through these efforts, online disorder has been contained and cyberspace has been cleansed.
Promoting internet civilization. China regulates the production, release, and dissemination of online content, as well as internet philanthropy. It has hosted the Internet Civilization Conference, and taken measures to build a civilized internet, so as to foster a wholesome, inspiring and righteous internet culture. We give full play to the main roles of government, platforms, social organizations, and internet users to jointly promote the civilized operation and use of the internet, share the achievements and build a healthy community online and offline.
6. More standardized operation for online platforms
In recent years, platform economy has been growing vigorously, with new business forms and models mushrooming in China. The platforms have played important roles in promoting quality social and economic development and meeting people’s increasing desire for a better life. Meanwhile, problems such as monopoly and algorithm abuse have undermined fair competition and damaged consumers’ rights and interests. China has been actively developing its legal system to make it compatible with the platform economy, improving its regulatory mechanism to boost business development, and fostering a sound environment for the digital economy so as to promote fair competition and orderly development on social media platforms.
Anti-monopoly review and supervision. A number of policies and regulations have been devised to provide clear guidance for the sound operation of the platforms, such as Guidelines of the Anti-monopoly Commission of the State Council for Anti-monopoly in the Field of Platform Economy, and Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Online Transactions. Investigations have been conducted on platform behaviors that hamper fair competitions and infringe upon the rights and interests of the consumers and employees, such as compelling platform users to choose one platform rather than another, engaging in big data-enabled price discrimination against existing customers, and blocking certain URL links. Administrative penalties have been imposed to protect the rights and interests of market players including small and medium-sized enterprises, employees and consumers.
Stepping up regulation related to new technologies and applications. China has steadily improved rules and regulations regarding new technologies and applications such as artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing. It has strengthened the regulation of services involving block chain and algorithm-based marketing and taken legal action against conduct such as algorithm abuse and illegal processing of personal information, so as to ensure that new technologies and applications better serve the people.
Advancing industry self-discipline. China’s internet social organizations and industry associations have given full play to their roles in formulating self-discipline convention and guidance in urging internet companies to operate properly, actively take their social responsibilities, and accept public supervision, so as to create a healthy market order characterized by honest operation, positive interaction, and fair competition.
7. Effectively guaranteed cybersecurity
China has further consolidated its lines of defense against cyber threats. Top-level cybersecurity design has been strengthened, a basic legal framework including the Cybersecurity Law, Data Security Law, and Personal Information Protection Law is in place, and China’s capacity to safeguard cybersecurity is improving steadily.
Intensifying efforts to protect critical information infrastructure. China has promulgated the Regulations on the Security and Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure. China coordinates the strengths of its government and social sectors through various measures so that all relevant sectors are working in synergy, taking on their respective responsibilities to protect critical information infrastructure in accordance with the law. It is intensifying risk assessment and safety inspection, increasing capacity in supervision and early-warning, establishing the mechanism for cybersecurity information sharing, identifying risks in a timely manner, conducting analysis and assessment, and engaging in emergency response at the earliest possible time.
Ensuring the regulated development of cyberspace. China balances internet development with law-based administration. It encourages online platforms to play a bigger role in technological innovation, increasing economic vitality, and benefiting the people with information technologies. At the same time, it is taking action against unfair competition by some platforms which abuse their strengths in data, technology, market share and capital, and it is making every effort to build a market environment for fair competition, inclusive development and open innovation.
Promoting the integrated development of cybersecurity studies, technology and industry. Cybersecurity studies have been categorized as a primary discipline. The country has selected a number of pilot colleges for cybersecurity studies, and established a special fund. More than 60 universities now have cybersecurity colleges, and over 200 have undergraduate courses in cybersecurity. The industrial ecosystem for cybersecurity is also improving. A basic industrial system has taken shape, and different cybersecurity products have been developed for different fields and so have different technologies to meet different needs. China has set up the National Cybersecurity Talent and Innovation Base and is building national cybersecurity industrial parks and pilot areas for integrating cybersecurity studies, technology, and industry, so as to create an environment for different sectors to reinforce each other.
Panel 2 China Cybersecurity Week
Netizens’ cybersecurity awareness and capability concerns not only their immediate interests, but also national cybersecurity. To raise the public’s awareness and increase their skills, China has had a cybersecurity week every year since 2014. Themed “Cybersecurity: for and by the People”, the event provides activities such as exhibitions, theme days, forums, public service advertising, featured programs, solicitation of good ideas, competitions, online classes, and awards for exemplary performance. During the week, local governments and industry regulatory authorities should hold relevant activities within their jurisdiction.
Strengthening personal information protection. China continues to improve the legal framework protecting personal information. It promulgated the Personal Information Protection Law to address prominent problems like collecting excessive personal information and illegally obtaining or trading it, thereby providing an all-round and systematic legal guarantee for protecting personal information. To protect privacy, China has also taken firm action against mobile apps that illegally collect and use personal data, and other crimes.
Increasing the ability to ensure data safety. China has moved swiftly to handle the challenges to data safety posed by the digital transformation of the economy and society. It has promulgated the Data Security Law, setting out the legal framework for administration of data. It has established a sound basic system for categorized and tiered protection of data, supervision and early warning on risks, emergency response, data security review, and administration of cross-border data security. With increasing strength, it can effectively prevent and reduce threats to data security.
Combating cybercrimes and cyberterrorism. China has taken tough actions against cybercrimes in accordance with the law, and cut through the interest chains behind the criminality, so as to protect the netizens’ legitimate rights and interests in cyberspace. It has launched the “Clean Cyberspace” campaign and other special campaigns against cybercrimes like hacking, telecom and online fraud, and online infringement and piracy, restricting the space available for internet crimes, and working to build a clean cyberspace. China is resolute in implementing relevant UN resolutions. It firmly fights against terrorist activities planned and executed online, eliminates audio and video files promoting terrorism from the internet, disseminates anti-terrorism information. The goal is to build an online counter-terrorism system in which the government serves to guide, internet enterprises assume the main responsibility, and social organizations and the public participate.
III. China’s Contribution to Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace
Upholding the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, China has continued to strengthen bilateral, regional and international dialogue and cooperation in cyberspace, and committed itself to forming extensive partnerships with parties throughout the international community. It has engaged in active cross-border collaboration in terms of the digital economy, cyberspace security, and reform and development of global cyberspace governance to promote inclusive development of the internet. All these efforts contribute to building a community with a shared future in cyberspace.
1. Expanding cooperation on the digital economy
China actively participates in international cooperation on the digital economy. It has played an active part in constructing information infrastructure, promoting the integrated growth of the digital and the real economy, and accelerating global cooperation on digital governance, thereby contributing substantially to the development of the digital economy worldwide.
(1) Construction of information infrastructure
Along with the international community, China has played an active part in constructing information infrastructure and expanding internet coverage and application, for greater connectivity of global digital infrastructure.
China has contributed to the laying of optical cables and submarine cables worldwide. Chinese enterprises have provided support for many countries in constructing information and communications infrastructure, opening up digital information expressways for other developing countries. By laying cables and building base stations, China has helped expand the coverage of optical communication in these countries, giving a powerful boost to local telecommunications. As a result, users now enjoy faster internet connection at substantially reduced prices.
China has contributed to expanding internet coverage and application. It has launched the construction of overseas nodes of the national top-level domain name system platform across five continents, providing uninterrupted and stable national domain name services to global users, and worked to spread the application of IPv6 technology. A global IPv6+ network base has been built for the in-depth integration and transformation of enterprise communication technology, information technology, and cloud computing and big data technologies, to support the construction of the digital Silk Road and find new areas of IPv6+ application. The CT-EC Express Connect service used SRv6 technology for the first time in the international cloud interconnection target network. With it, users can access various public and private clouds in China and abroad, and realize end-to-end cross-domain deployment and service provisioning within minutes. More than 10 countries and regions in Europe, Asia and Africa now benefit from this technology.
The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System has become an important component in global positioning and timing infrastructure. Its products and services now serve the entire planet, and have been exported to half the world. China has continued to carry out cooperation and exchanges in satellite navigation with the Arab League, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and countries in Central Asia and Africa. A bilateral cooperation mechanism has been established to coordinate the compatibility and interoperability of satellite navigation systems.
BeiDou will apply to join the International Standardization Organization and other industry and specialized application standardization bodies, for it to improve its services to global users and support the development of relevant industries.
China has contributed to global digital connectivity. China has expanded the construction of its 5G network and engaged in active international cooperation on 5G technology innovation and development. China’s enterprises helped South Africa set up Africa’s first 5G commercial network and its first 5G laboratory. To realize large-scale connectivity among countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has helped to construct main arteries like national highways, railways, ports, bridges, and communication cables and networks, forming a connectivity framework consisting of six corridors, six routes and multiple countries and ports.
On this basis, it has also helped upgrade infrastructure such as ports and railways with digital application. The construction of smart ports is expected to become a new engine of high-quality development, by further integrating the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence technologies with all areas of port operation, to improve the efficiency of services and clearance and realize paperless processes through all the major filing and certification procedures.
(2) Driving global economic growth with digital technology
Fully leveraging digital technology to boost the economy, China has continued to expand global e-commerce cooperation and facilitate the digital industry and industry digitalization. It calls for joint efforts to coordinate the transformation towards digitalization and green growth.
Silk Road e-commerce cooperation has been fruitful. Since 2016, China has set up bilateral e-commerce cooperation mechanisms with 23 countries across five continents, and e-commerce cooperation dialogue mechanisms with Central and Eastern European countries and five Central Asian countries. Multilevel exchanges and cooperation are promoted through government-business dialogue, co-research, and capacity building, to create a sound climate for development and a new pattern for digital cooperation. As China’s e-commerce enterprises move faster to go global, Chinese businesses in cross-border logistics and mobile payments have thus been able to reach out to the world. China has been an active participant in e-commerce-related discussions under multilateral and regional trade frameworks such as WTO, G20, APEC, BRICS and SCO, and along with its partners in free trade, it has set the norms for a high-quality digital economy. There has been a breakthrough in the formulation of international e-commerce rules, with the e-commerce chapter in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) becoming by far the most extensive and most used set of e-commerce rules.
China has made new breakthroughs in the development and application of cloud computing and AI technologies. In 2020, China began to provide support for the cloud services in countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and those participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. Based on the World Data Center for Microorganisms, China has employed cloud service platforms to set up a global microorganisms data-sharing network involving 141 partners from 51 countries, and initiated the Global Catalogue of Microorganisms in order to enable the efficient utilization of global microorganisms data resources.
China aided Thailand in building a 5G demonstration plant, empowering new 5G technology usage in the industrial sector. In order to raise the digitalization level in agriculture, China has actively cooperated with Israel and other countries. Under the APEC framework, China has proposed to coordinate the transformation towards digitalized development and green growth. In May 2015, China and UNESCO joined to host the International Conference on ICT and Post-2015 Education in Qingdao, Shandong Province. It adopted the Qingdao Declaration, which played a significant role in boosting the digital development of education in the international community. In May 2019, the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Education was held in Beijing with joint support from China and UNESCO. This event led to the Beijing Consensus, which establishes a vision for education in the AI era. Subsequently, the two parties worked together to hold the International Forum on AI and Education in 2020 and 2021, representing a major contribution to the digitalization of global education.
Panel 3 Silk Road Cloud Lecture
In 2020, in order to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, China launched a skills-building cooperative project — Silk Road Cloud Lecture — for e-business representatives from Belt and Road countries. The live-streamed lectures explained the local rules, regulations, approaches and strategies in Belt and Road countries for the benefit of partner governments, chambers of commerce, and enterprises. The project has held 51 live-streamed lectures for more than 6,000 trainees and 100,000 online spectators, on topics including the export of agricultural products from Latin America and products from SCO countries.
Silk Road Cloud Lecture has provided a new platform for participants to develop their digital literacy. The initiative has been widely welcomed and had a positive impact. At a special event for Silk Road e-commerce businesses, part of the Third “Reliable Brand — Quality Life” shopping festival, the average daily sales of participating retailers rose by almost 21 percent than before. The turnover of promoted products doubled, and coffee from Rwanda, fruit and vegetable juice from Argentina, and wines from Chile became online hits. In 2022, at the live-streaming event promoting goods from SCO countries, eight products from Uzbekistan became the top-selling items. At a special event for African enterprises, part of the fourth “Reliable Brand — Quality Life” shopping festival, the turnover of star products from more than 20 African countries on major online e-business platforms rose substantially from the same period in the previous year. Sales increased by as much as 50 percent for 18 countries. The Silk Road Cloud Lecture has initiated an efficient new way to share the dividends brought by the digital economy and promote closer people-to-people ties worldwide.
(3) Active participation in governing the digital economy
China has actively participated in the governance of the digital economy under international and regional multilateral mechanisms, raising and advancing initiatives, declarations, and proposals in the interest of most participating countries. It has also strengthened cooperation with specialized international organizations to contribute to governing the global digital economy.
China has contributed to the progress of digital economy cooperation among APEC members. In 2014, as the host country, it introduced the internet economy into the APEC cooperation framework by initiating the APEC Initiative of Cooperation to Promote the Internet Economy and overseeing its approval. In 2019, after the APEC Digital Economy Steering Group was set up, China actively pushed the full and balanced application of the APEC Internet and Digital Economy Roadmap. Since 2020, China has proposed several initiatives-“using the digital economy to improve Covid-19 response and economic recovery”, “optimizing the digital business environment to activate market vitality”, “strengthening digital capacity-building in the post-pandemic era to bridge the digital gap” — all of which were adopted by APEC.
China has been an active participant in digital economy cooperation under the G20 framework. In 2016, the 11th G20 Summit was held in China. Thanks to China’s efforts, the summit listed “the digital economy” as a major item in the G20 Blueprint for Innovative Growth and adopted the G20 Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Initiative, the first digital economy policy paper signed by state leaders. Since then, the digital economy has become a core topic for the G20. In recent years, China has actively attended G20 ministerial meetings on the digital economy and related negotiations of the G20 Digital Economy Task Force. China has also played a part in upgrading the Digital Economy Task Force to the Digital Economy Working Group in order that the fruits of the digital economy will benefit the whole world.
China has continued to expand cooperation with BRICS countries on the digital economy. In 2017, the Ninth BRICS Summit was held in China and announced the BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration, which proposed to expand practical collaboration in the areas of information and telecommunications technology, e-commerce, and cyberspace. In 2019, the China branch of the BRICS Institute of Future Networks was established in Shenzhen City in southern China’s Guangdong Province. In 2022, the 14th BRICS Summit agreed on the BRICS Digital Economy Partnership Framework. China has held several important events such as the Dialogue on Digital Economy of BRICS, opening a new chapter for cooperation on the digital economy among BRICS countries.
China has strengthened cooperation on the digital economy with ASEAN. The year 2020 marked the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation under the theme “combating the pandemic together for common development”, and the two sides held dialogues on internet affairs. The 23rd China-ASEAN Summit issued the China-ASEAN Digital Economy Partnership Initiative, aimed to further strengthen digital economy cooperation.
China has actively sought to advance cooperation on the digital economy within the WTO. In 2017, China formally announced its entry to the WTO Friends of E-commerce for Development (FED), in order to work with the other developing members in support of negotiations about e-commerce issues. In 2019, China joined 75 other WTO members, including Brazil, Myanmar, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, European Union and the United States, to issue a Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce, confirming their intention to begin WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce. In 2022, China and other WTO members jointly released the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce, Ministerial Decision to exempt taxes on digital transmission, in a bid to facilitate the growth of the global digital economy.
China has furthered cooperation with the World Economy Forum (WEF) and the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA). It has supported GSMA in holding the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai several times since 2015. GSMA, a frequent co-organizer of the World Internet Conference, has strengthened its cooperation with China in the realm of cyberspace and particularly in new technologies and applications for the mobile internet.
Panel 4 The Belt and Road Digital Economy International
To expand cooperation on the digital economy, China, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates jointly launched the Belt and Road Digital Economy International Cooperation Initiative at the Fourth World Internet Conference on December 3, 2017. According to the initiative, the digital economy has become an important driver of global economic growth. As members under the Belt and Road Initiative framework, the participating countries will strengthen policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people ties, based on the principles of connectivity, innovative development, openness and cooperation, inclusiveness, and shared benefits. They agreed to extend their cooperation in the digital economy, in order to build an interconnected Digital Silk Road and create a community of shared interests and shared future through win-win cooperation and for common prosperity.
Accordingly, the parties proposed cooperation in 15 areas:
?? expanding broadband access and improving the quality;
?? promoting digital transformation;
?? encouraging e-commerce cooperation
?? supporting internet-based entrepreneurship and innovation;
?? facilitating the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises;
?? strengthening digital capacity building;
?? promoting investment in the ICT sector;
?? promoting inter-city cooperation on the digital economy
?? promoting digital inclusiveness;
?? encouraging transparent digital economy policies
?? promoting cooperation in international standardization;
?? fostering confidence and trust;
?? advocating cooperation and respecting every country’s independent choice of development path;
?? jointly establishing a peaceful, safe, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace;
?? creating a multilayer communication mechanism.
2. Stronger cybersecurity cooperation
Cybersecurity is the shared responsibility of the international community. China has actively fulfilled its international responsibilities, expanded international cooperation in cybersecurity emergency response, and worked with the international community to increase the level of cooperation in data security and personal information protection, and to combat cybercrime and cyberterrorism.
(1) More partnerships in cybersecurity
China has played an active part in facilitating cybersecurity cooperation among BRICS countries. In 2017, BRICS countries agreed on the Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on Ensuring Security in the Use of ICTs. At its eighth meeting in 2022, the BRICS Working Group on Security in the Use of ICTs unanimously adopted the report on the implementation of the roadmap, which summed up the lessons learned and progress made over the past five years and reached consensus on the direction of future cooperation. China has been deeply involved in work on cybersecurity by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In 2021, the SCO Expert Group on International Information Security unanimously adopted the Joint Action Plan on Ensuring International Information Security for 2022-2023. In 2021, China and Indonesia signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Developing Cybersecurity Capacity and Technology. In 2022, China and Thailand signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cybersecurity Cooperation.
China has carried out international cooperation in cybersecurity emergency response. CNCERT conducts exchanges with major national CERTS, government departments, international organizations and alliances, internet service providers, domain name registries, academic institutions, and other internet-related businesses and organizations. As of 2001, CNCERT has established partnerships with 274 CERTS in 81 countries and territories and signed cybersecurity cooperation memorandums with 33 of them. The China-ASEAN Cybersecurity Exchange and Training Center has been established to increase cybersecurity capabilities.
(2) Higher-level cooperation in data security and personal information protection
China adopts an attitude of openness and inclusion in global data security governance, and cooperation on personal information protection. It works to achieve a reasonable balance between data security and the orderly flow of data. Conditional on maintaining the security of personal information and important data, China has carried out exchanges and cooperation with countries throughout the world and jointly explored rules on data security and personal information protection that reflect the common concerns and meet the common interests of the international community. In September 2020, China launched the Global Data Security Initiative, which provides a blueprint for developing global data security rules. In March 2021, China and the League of Arab States (LAS) Secretariat released the China-LAS Cooperation Initiative on Data Security, highlighting the high-level consensus of the two sides on digital governance. In June 2022, the third China+ Central Asia (C+C5) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting adopted the Data Security Initiative of China + Central Asia, marking an important step in cooperation among developing countries to promote global digital governance. China supports discussions on the protection of privacy in the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, advocates the establishment of principles on privacy protection in cyberspace, and encourages countries to take steps to prevent the use of the internet to infringe on privacy.
(3) Jointly combating cybercrime and cyberterrorism
China has always supported international cooperation in combating cybercrime and advocates a global convention against cybercrime under the framework of the United Nations. From 2011 to 2021, China facilitated seven meetings of the United Nations Open-Ended Intergovernmental Expert Group on Cybercrime, making a significant contribution to the adoption of relevant resolutions on the drafting of a United Nations convention on cybercrime.
Within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), China has signed important documents such as the Astana Declaration of the SCO Heads of States, and the Statement by the SCO Heads of Member States on Joint Counteraction to International Terrorism to combat terrorism, separatism, and extremism, including cyberterrorism. China has hosted and actively participated in the meetings of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group (CTWG), shared its approach to combating cyberterrorism, and presented proposals for strengthening cooperation and exchange on combating cyberterrorism among BRICS countries.
3. Actively participating in cyberspace governance
Cyberspace is a shared space for human activities; it needs to be developed and managed by all countries. China has actively participated in global internet governance mechanisms, and initiated international exchange platforms such as the World Internet Conference. It has strengthened exchanges and cooperation with other countries in cyberspace, driving the reform and development of the global internet governance system.
(1) Active participation in global internet governance
China firmly safeguards the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and on these foundations, the formulation of universally agreed international rules in cyberspace.
China has always upheld the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, including sovereign equality, non-use or threats of force, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. It respects the rights of individual countries to independently choose their own path of cyber development, model of cyber regulation, and internet public policies, and their right to equal participation in international governance of cyberspace.
It has been China’s consistent view that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community and are entitled to equal participation in developing a global order and international rules, to ensure that the future development of cyberspace is decided by people of the world. In September 2020, China released its position paper on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, calling on the international community to step up dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit, and to use cyberspace for the purposes of economic and social development, international peace and stability, and wellbeing for all. It also called on all countries to oppose cyber warfare and a cyber arms race, and to foster a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace.
China has actively participated in the UN process of cyberspace governance. China and other SCO member states jointly submitted the International Code of Conduct for Information Security to the UN General Assembly, with an updated version submitted in 2015. It was the first systematic international document dedicated to norms of behavior in cyberspace.
China has been a constructive participant in the UN’s Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) and Group of Government Experts (GGE) on information security, and pushed for a successful OEWG-GGE final report, laying the foundations for formulating international cyberspace rules and building global cybersecurity governance mechanisms. China is fully engaged in the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Chinese representatives have actively participated in the IGF’s Leading Group and Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), having hosted open forums, seminars, and other breakout activities during the IGF for several years, and engaged in extensive exchanges and discussions with representatives of politics, business, academia, and non-governmental organizations from all over the world.
China has continued to expand cooperation with specialized agencies of the UN on cyber affairs. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have co-hosted the World Internet Conference for several years. In July 2019, China signed a memorandum of understanding with the WIPO and officially authorized the WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center to conduct extensive cooperation in formulating domain name rules and dispute resolution in the field. China has taken an active part in formulating UNESCO’s Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. At the end of 2019, the UNESCO’s International Center for Higher Education Innovation (UNESCO-ICHEI) worked with four Chinese higher education institutions, 11 Asia-Pacific and African higher education institutions, and nine partner enterprises, to set up the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE), which supports the digital transformation of higher education institutions and faculty in developing countries through open online platforms.
China has actively participated in the operation of global internet organizations. It has actively participated in the activities of platforms and organizations such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It has supported reform of the ICANN governance mechanism to increase the representation of developing countries, and to bring more internet information resources under concerted global management. China has also participated in the activities of the Internet Society (ISOC), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and Internet Architecture Board (IAB). It has played a constructive role in facilitating community exchange, promoting technical R&D and application, and becoming closely involved in the formulation of relevant standards and rules.
(2) Extensive international exchanges and cooperation
On the basis of mutual respect and equality, China has strengthened exchanges and cooperation in cyberspace with countries worldwide. With common progress and win-win results as the goals, it has championed mutual confidence and shared governance.
In March 2017, China released a white paper — International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace — which for the first time made proposals on promoting international exchanges and cooperation in cyberspace in a comprehensive and systematic manner. This sent a positive signal to the world on China’s dedication to peaceful development and win-win cooperation in cyberspace.
China has carried forward high-level Sino-Russian cooperation on cyber affairs and information technology. Within the framework of the Sino-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, the two sides have followed through on agreements for cooperation reached by the two heads of states, to advance bilateral cooperation on cyber affairs and information technology. In 2015, the two sides signed the Agreement Between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Cooperation in Ensuring International Information Security, which set the direction for bilateral cooperation in this area.
In 2021, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-Russian Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, China and Russia issued a joint statement in which both sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening international information security at bilateral and multilateral levels, and to further contributing to a global information security system based on the principles of preventing conflict in cyberspace and encouraging the peaceful use of information and communication technologies. Since 2016, they have co-hosted five China-Russia Internet Media Forum to strengthen new media exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. Through the Sino-Russian Information Security Consultation Mechanism, they have constantly enhanced their coordination and cooperation on information security.
China has applied an open and inclusive attitude to its cooperation with Europe on cyber affairs and information technology. By holding China-European Commission (EC) high-level dialogues in the digital sector, the two sides focused on digital cooperation and carried out pragmatic and constructive discussions on the standards of communication technology and artificial intelligence, among other issues. China worked with the EC in setting up the China-EU Digital Economy and Cybersecurity Expert Working Group, which has held four meetings. The China-EU Taskforce was set up in 2012. It has now held eight meetings. Under the framework of the taskforce, the two sides have continued to strengthen discussions and cooperation on cyberspace. China has carried out bilateral cyber affairs dialogues with the UK, Germany, France and other countries. China has intensified its exchanges and dialogue with European think tanks. It co-hosted the 2019 China-Germany Dialogue on the Internet Economy, and jointly issued the outcome document of the dialogue. It has also co-hosted several China-UK Internet Roundtables, and reached agreements in fields such as the digital economy, cybersecurity, online protection of children, data, and artificial intelligence.
China has strengthened cooperation on cyber affairs and information technology with neighboring countries and other developing countries. The success of a series of China-ASEAN Information Harbor Forums has continued to promote China-ASEAN cooperation in the digital sector. The China-ASEAN Cyber Dialogue Mechanism and the China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Cyber Consultation Mechanism were set up. China and the Republic of Korea have co-hosted the China-ROK Internet Roundtable. China hosted the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum, which released the Initiative on Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, and proposed the China-Africa Partnership Plan on Digital Innovation. A series of activities, including the China-South Africa New Media Roundtable, the Meeting for China-Tanzania Cyber Cultural Exchange, and the Symposium on China-Kenya Cooperation and Development of the Digital Economy have strengthened China-Africa exchanges and cooperation in new media, cyber culture, the digital economy and other sectors. China has hosted a series of online Silk Road expos to facilitate pragmatic cooperation with Arab countries in information infrastructure, cross-border e-commerce, smart cities and other sectors. It has also hosted the China-Cuba Internet Development Forum and the China-Brazil Internet Governance Seminar to promote dialogue and exchanges on the development and governance of the internet in the information era.
China has discussed the rule of law in cyberspace with Asian and African countries. In April 2015, the 54th Annual Meeting of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) was held in Beijing. At the suggestion of China, the AALCO decided to set up the Working Group on International Law Concerning Cyberspace, which would carry out in-depth discussions on relevant issues.
Panel 5 China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum
On August 24, 2021, the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum, on the theme of “Pursuing Common Development and Security, Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace”, took place via video link. Around 100 representatives from the African Union and 14 African countries, including Senegal, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, attended the forum online.
During the forum, the Chinese side put forward the Initiative on Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace. It welcomed support for and participation in the initiative by African countries. It also expressed its willingness to work with the African side to jointly formulate and implement the China-Africa Partnership Plan on Digital Innovation, and to design measures for pragmatic cooperation in the digital sector in the next three years, which would be incorporated in the outcome document of the next meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The African representatives responded in a positive manner, saying that they would take the forum as an opportunity to further strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation between Africa and China, promote the digital economy in Africa, jointly safeguard cybersecurity, and jointly build a community with a shared future in cyberspace.
During the forum, China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the National Computer Emergency Response Center of Benin.
China has carried out dialogue and exchanges with the United States in the spirit of equality and mutual respect. On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, China has been committed to carrying out dialogue and exchanges with the US in the internet sector, in order to create a sound market environment for businesses from all over the world, including the US, to develop in China. These have promoted bilateral cooperation on cyber affairs and information technology. However, in the more recent past, the US has adopted misguided China policies that have resulted in serious setbacks in China-US relations. The US government has also continuously carried out cyber attacks and cyber theft activities. China will adhere to the principle of independence and self-reliance, and firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests in cyberspace.
(3) World Internet Conference
Every year since 2014, China has hosted the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, to build an international platform for greater connectivity between China and the world, and a Chinese platform for all to benefit from a global internet. Representatives from governments, international organizations, internet companies, think tanks, industry associations, and technology communities have come together to share their views on the further development of the global internet. The conference model provides a variety of innovative activities, such as sub-forums, Release & Presentation of Success Stories of Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, the Release Ceremony for World Leading Internet Scientific and Technological Achievements, the “Light of Internet” Expo, and the “Straight to Wuzhen” competition. These have drawn wide attention from the public.
The organizing committee of the conference has released Jointly Build a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, a concept document, and the Initiative on Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace. It has also publicized the best practices on explaining the concept of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace. Every year, the organizing committee of the conference releases the blue books of the World Internet Development Report and the China Internet Development Report, to review internet development in China and around the world, in order to present facts, experiences, and guidance for global internet development. The Wuzhen Outlook is released by the High-level Advisory Council of the conference to share with the international community its views on the current trends in cyberspace and the future outlook.
Panel 6 Initiative on Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace
On November 18, 2020, the Organizing Committee of the World Internet Conference released the Initiative on Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, calling on all governments, international organizations, internet companies, technical communities, social organizations and individuals to take an approach to global governance based on extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, to uphold the philosophy of “achieving shared development, ensuring common security, realizing joint governance, and enjoying benefits together”, and to work together to build cyberspace into a global community where development and security are advanced for all and benefits as well as responsibility are shared.
The initiative consists of 20 proposals in four categories:
1. to adopt more proactive, inclusive and coordinated policies that benefit all, speed up global information infrastructure construction, promote innovative development of the digital economy and enhance public service capacity;
2. to advocate a cybersecurity vision that features openness and cooperation, and encourage internet development while laying equal emphasis on cybersecurity so as to jointly uphold peace and security in cyberspace;
3. to stay committed to a multilateral and multiparty approach to cyberspace governance, and step up dialogue and consultation for a more just and equitable governance system in cyberspace;
4. to advocate “Tech for Good” with a people-centered approach, narrow the digital divide, and achieve common prosperity.
Over the past eight years, the successful conferences have contributed significantly to close contacts and in-depth communication among all countries in the internet sector. They have vigorously transformed China’s experience, ideas, and wisdom around building a community with a shared future in cyberspace from conceptual consensus into concrete practice, boosting the confidence and enthusiasm of people from all over the world in this regard, and contributing to a fairer and more equitable global internet governance system.
In response to calls to upgrade the World Internet Conference, the international organization of the World Internet Conference was inaugurated in Beijing in July 2022 with concerted efforts. The goal of the organization is to build a global internet platform featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and sharing of benefits, to help the international community to adapt to the trends of digital, internet-based, and intelligent technologies, meet security challenges together, bring more benefits to the people, and jointly build a community with a shared future in cyberspace.
4. Promoting inclusive global development
China upholds “Tech for Good” with a people-centered approach. In response to the needs of the international community, China has worked with other countries to promote the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in order to bridge the digital divide. It has promoted online cultural exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations and strengthened support for vulnerable groups to help people in different countries and regions share the benefits of the internet.
(1) Active international cooperation in poverty alleviation through internet access
China has always associated its own future with that of the peoples of the world. It has consistently advocated, promoted, and contributed to international poverty reduction. While using the internet to eliminate poverty, China has used technology to help developing countries improve broadband access in the poorest areas and areas with low population density. It has worked to provide universal and affordable internet access in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in order to eliminate poverty caused by lack of network facilities. In June 2021, China hosted the APEC Digital Poverty Reduction Seminar both online and offline, making a positive contribution to poverty eradication in the Asia-Pacific region. Rural-Star, a solution put forward by a Chinese firm, allows a simple and small base station to be deployed on a wooden pole. The base station has its own power supply and consumes limited power, enabling mobile communication in remote areas of developing countries to function quickly and at a low cost. China has provided financing support for IT projects in African countries, modernized their IT services, and helped alleviate local poverty. In addition, China has provided cross-network, multi-business services for Africa and helped build network infrastructure in remote areas, making an important contribution to poverty reduction elsewhere in the world.
(2) Helping improve digital public services
China has actively developed digital public products and expanded cooperation in digital public services. The Arab-China Digital Library project, a joint initiative, provides digital resources and cultural services in Chinese and Arabic for Chinese and LAS users. Network and information technology has been used to build a platform for cooperation in international education. Chinese-Plus was launched in collaboration with educational institutions and social organizations in Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain and Thailand as a platform for teaching service and information exchanges in Chinese language education. Since the global outbreak of Covid-19, pandemic forecasting platforms and robocalls developed in China have helped control and mitigation in other countries. In October 2020, the China-ASEAN Public Private Cooperation Forum on Combating Covid-19 Digitally was held. China has also donated remote video conferencing systems to other countries and provided technology, equipment, and solutions such as medical systems, AI-assisted Covid-19 diagnosis and treatment, and 5G driverless cars.
(3) Promoting online cultural exchange and mutual learning among civilizations
Online cultural exchange platforms have been created for exchange and mutual learning among civilizations. In June 2020, China Pavilion Online was launched to release information, host exhibitions, facilitate copyright trading, and promote communication. It has become a platform for the exhibition and exchange of audiovisual programs and equipment among relevant institutions from various countries. Travel Silk Road, a multilingual digital heritage and tourism information service platform, has been created to promote 1,500 heritage and tourism sites in countries along the Silk Road. Images, audios, and videos are used to highlight their scientific, aesthetic, historical, cultural and artistic value. In September 2020, the Treasure Hunt Relay: Global Museum Director’s Choice was held online, in which 16 national museums from 15 countries on five continents participated. To promote the digital presentation and dissemination of Dunhuang culture, an online symposium — Sino-French Cultural Talk: the Digital Effort and Communication for Dunhuang Studies — was held in May 2021 in conjunction with a French museum. Its goal was to identify new directions, models and plans for the digital protection and dissemination of Dunhuang cultural heritage preserved in France.
IV. China’s Proposals on Creating a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace
The internet is the shared home of all of humanity. It is the common responsibility of the international community to make this home cleaner, safer, and more prosperous. China will join other countries to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace so that the fruits of internet development can benefit everyone. As always, China will do so based on its national conditions and in the spirit of people-centered, open, and win-win cooperation.
1. Respecting network sovereignty
China advocates respect for the cyber sovereignty of all countries. It respects the right of every country to independently choose its path of cyber development, model of network management, and public policy on internet issues, as well as its right to equal participation in international cyberspace governance. China firmly opposes all forms of hegemony and power politics, interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and double standards. It does not support, engage in, or conspire around cyber activities that undermine national security in other countries.
China advocates that the principle of sovereign equality established by the UN Charter be applied to cyberspace and that a just and rational international order in cyberspace be built on the basis of national sovereignty.
2. Maintaining peace, security and stability in cyberspace
Cyberspace is interconnected, resulting in the deep integration of the interests of all countries. Peace, security, and stability in cyberspace are the common wishes of people all over the world. China maintains that all governments should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, make peaceful use of the internet, and settle disputes by peaceful means. China opposes the so-called absolute security for some at the expense of the interests of others, and any form of arms race in cyberspace. China advocates that the cybersecurity concerns of all countries, large or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, should be noted and addressed, and that countries should make peaceful use of cyberspace to promote economic and social development and conduct cooperation and dialogue at all levels — global, bilateral, multilateral, and multiparty — to jointly safeguard peace and stability in cyberspace.
3. Creating an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory digital environment
The global digital economy is an open and closely connected whole. Those who build walls and barriers and call for decoupling and severing supply chains will hurt not only others but also themselves. Win-win cooperation is the only way forward. Creating an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for digital development is a requirement for stronger global digital economic cooperation, which will promote the recovery and development of the global economy. China opposes the politicization of technological issues and the containment of other countries’ enterprises by abusing state power and violating market principles and trading rules. China advocates that all governments should actively maintain open, secure, and stable global supply chains for IT products and services, strengthen collaborative R&D on new generations of information technology, and integrate into the global innovation network. Governments, international organizations, businesses and think tanks should discuss and develop international rules of digital governance that reflect the wishes of all parties and respect the interests of all, to promote the healthy and orderly development of the digital economy.
4. Strengthening international cooperation in protecting critical information infrastructure
Critical information infrastructure is one of the foundations for the normal operation of the economy and society of all countries in the information age. It is the common responsibility of the international community to effectively address any security risks in this regard. China firmly opposes the use of information technology to undermine the critical information infrastructure of other countries, steal their data, or engage in any other form of zero-sum game. The international community should advocate the concept of cybersecurity based on openness and cooperation, and oppose network eavesdropping and cyberattacks. Governments and relevant authorities of all countries should strengthen cooperation on early warning, risk prevention, information sharing and emergency response, and actively share experience on protecting critical information infrastructure.
5. Maintaining the security and stability of the core-resource management system for the internet
The core-resource management system for the internet is the cornerstone of internet operations. It should be guaranteed that those institutions hosting the management systems operate with full credibility and do not pose a threat to the top-level domains of any country just because of the jurisdictional demands on some other country. China advocates guaranteed availability and reliability of core internet resources — to be used by all countries and jointly managed and fairly distributed by the international community, so that the technological systems for the resources, including the domain name system, are secure, stable, and resilient. There should be a guarantee that services will not be interrupted or terminated due to any political or human factors. China advocates that governments, industry authorities, and businesses work together to accelerate the use of IPv6 technology and applications.
6. Cooperation in combating cybercrime and cyberterrorism
Cyberspace should not be a wrestling field for countries fighting against each other, nor a hotbed for crimes. Currently, cybercrime and cyberterrorism have become a global scourge, and they must be fought against through international cooperation. China proposes that governments of all countries should work together within the framework of relevant laws and international conventions to crack down on all forms of cybercrime. China calls for removing the hotbed for cybercrime and severing all criminal links, and building a better mechanism for judicial and law enforcement cooperation against cybercrime and cyberterrorism. China is an active supporter and participant in negotiations on a United Nations Convention against Cybercrime, and calls for an international cyberspace counter-terrorism treaty. China would like to coordinate with other governments in drafting laws and taking actions to jointly tackle the threat of cybercrime and cyberterrorism.
7. Promote data security, development and utilization
Data are a new type of production factor-the basis for digital, internet and smart technologies. Data have been integrated into various areas of production, distribution, circulation, consumption and social service management, profoundly changing people’s approach to work, daily life, and social governance. China supports the flow, development, and utilization of data, and promotes data sharing, and would like to actively work with other countries, international organizations, enterprises, and think tanks, engaging in exchanges and cooperation to safeguard data security, development and utilization, promoting relevant international rules and standards under bilateral and multilateral frameworks, and steadily ensuring the interoperability of different data protection rules to promote the safe and free flow of data across borders.
8. Build a fairer and more rational cyberspace governance system
Cyberspace is globally interconnected, so no country can effectively govern it alone. China supports the United Nations as the main player in international cyberspace governance. China upholds genuine multilateralism and opposes any form of unilateralism, camps or coteries targeting specific countries. China champions multilateral participation, leveraging the role of various parties including governments, international organizations, internet companies, technology communities, non-governmental organizations and individuals. Following the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, the international community should step up communication, exchange, and pragmatic cooperation, improve dialogue and consultation mechanisms on cyberspace, and formulate global internet governance rules, so that the global internet governance system becomes fairer and more rational and reflects the aspirations and interests of the majority of countries in a more balanced way.
9. Jointly building a better cyberspace
Internet civilization is an important symbol of the progress of modern society. To meet netizens’ desire for a better life it is imperative to step up the construction of internet civilization. China respects the diversity of internet culture, and holds that all countries should tap their own excellent cultural resources, support the digitalization and online dissemination of their quality cultural products, encourage online cultural exchange and learning between the civilizations of various countries, regions and nations, and promote the co-existence and common development of all civilizations. China proposes that countries should cooperate with each other, industry organizations and companies should strengthen self-discipline, and individuals should improve their digital literacy, combining to counter fake online information, strengthen cyber governance, maintain sound online order, and enrich cyberspace with the excellent fruits of human civilization.
10. Sharing the benefits of the internet
The internet develops through joint efforts and its fruits should also be shared. China proposes that the international community should make joint efforts to advance the construction of information infrastructure and bridge the digital divide, step up support and help to vulnerable groups, and promote digital literacy and skills for the general public. Internet and digital technology should play a full role in combating epidemics, improving people’s lives, and eliminating poverty. The international community should promote new technologies and applications for the common good, provide more innovative digital products, and promote open, inclusive, sharing, balanced and sustainable development. Efforts should be made for more countries and people to benefit from the information technology, enjoy the fruits of internet development, and actively contribute to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The internet is the common home of mankind. Everyone shares weal and woe in cyberspace no matter how innovative digital technology develops and how the international situation changes. Building a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace is important for the future development of human civilization, and is the common aspiration of all countries.
In an era of both challenges and hope, China would like to work with other countries to foster an open, inclusive, and vibrant cyberspace that is fairer, more secure, and more stable. Let us join hands together to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace and create a better world.
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