- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed during a summit in Zhejiang province on Wednesday that countries should respect one another’s “cyber sovereignty” and avoid prescribing online policies beyond their own borders.

“We should respect the right of individual countries to independently choose their own path of cyber development, model of cyber regulation and participate in international cyberspace governance on an equal footing,” Mr. Xi told attendees at the at the second World Internet Conference in Wuzhen this week.

“No country should pursue cyber hegemony, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs or engage in, connive at or support cyber activities that undermine other countries’ national security,” the president added.

Mr. Xi’s remarks were delivered at an event attended by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma, as well as executives from Google’s newly established parent company, Alphabet, and representatives from tech companies including Apple, Microsoft and IBM, along with Prime Ministers Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and Karim Massimov of Kazakhstan.

Hardly three months after announcing an agreement between Beijing and Washington, Mr. Xi’s comments suggest he may be ready to reach similar accords with other nations in an effort to not just curb hack attacks against Chinese targets, but also to ensure the global community is committed to keeping the Internet safe from cyberattacks.

“Cyberspace should not be a battlefield for countries to wrestle with one another,” the Chinese president said. “Still less should it become a hotbed for crimes.”

“Each country should join hands and together curb the abuse of information technology, oppose network surveillance and hacking, and fight against a cyberspace arms race,” Mr. Xi told his audience, adding that countries should work together to “build an Internet governance system to promote equity and justice.”

At the same time, however, the Chinese president also defended his country’s restrictive Internet censorship laws — the so-called “Great Firewall” that aims to keep residents from accessing certain websites — as being an indispensable implement needed for national security’s sake.

“Cyberspace is similar to the real world in that both freedom and order are necessary,” he said. “On one hand, we should respect the freedom of expression. On the other, we need to create a fine cyberspace order following relevant laws.”

The White House had reportedly been weighing the imposition of sanctions against China earlier this year as a result of a cyberattack waged against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and other hacks blamed by and large on Beijing.

China has rejected the notion that the attack was the work of state-sponsored hackers and had reportedly arrested the suspected perpetrators ahead of Mr. Xi’s meeting with his American counterpart back in September.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide