Central Reform Leading Group Approves Media Convergence Plan

On Monday 18 August, the Central Leading Group for the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform – established in the wake of the 18th Party Congress – met for the 4th time. Among the documents it approved is a programme to integrate different media sectors, the “Guiding Opinions for the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media” (关于推动传统媒体和新兴媒体融合发展的指导意见). As is common with this kind of document, these Guiding Opinions have not been published. However, Xinhua today published a short summary of some of the main points:

The “Opinions” point out that integrating news media resources and promoting the converged development of traditional media and new media is an important task in implementing the Centre’s deployment concerning comprehensively deepening reform and moving reform and innovation in the propaganda and cultural sphere forward, and is an important measure to adapt to the profound changes in the media structure and improve the communication strength, credibility, influence and public opinion guidance ability of mainstream media. Converged development ensures that our mainstream media can scientifically use advanced communications technology, strengthen information production and service capacities, even better communicate the voice of the Party and the government, and satisfy the popular masses’ information demands even better.

The “Opinions” point out that in promoting converged media development, we must abide by the laws of news communication and the development laws of new media, strengthen Internet thinking, persist in the correct orientation and public opinion guidance, persist in comprehensive planning and coordination, persist in innovative development, persist in integrated development, and persist in using advanced technology as support.

The “Opinions” point out that, to promote converged media development, we must put technological construction and content construction in an equally important position, we must comply with the mobilization, social mediatization and audiovisualization trends of Internet communications, vigorously use big data, cloud computing and other such new technologies, develop mobile clients, mobile websites and other such new applications and new business models to incessantly raise technological development levels, use new technology to lead the converged development of media, and drive the transformation and improvement of media. At the same time, we must adapt to the communications characteristics of new media, strengthen content construction, innovate newsgathering and editing workflows, optimize information services, and win the development superiority through content superiority.

The “Opinions” point out that, to promote converged media development, we must act according to the demands of moving matters forward vigorously, scientific development, standardized management, and guaranteeing orientations, promote the profound integration of traditional media and new media in areas such as content, channels platforms, operations and management, strive to forge a batch of new-type mainstream media with diverse forms, advanced methods and competitiveness, build a number of new-type media groups having strong force, communication strength, credibility and influence, and shape a three-dimensional, diverse and modernized communications system with converged development. We must grasp convergence with one hand and management with one hand, and guarantee that converged development proceeds in the correct direction from beginning to end.

Media convergence – the ability to access different forms of content through various channels and gadgets – has gained in priority after its inclusion in the Decision on reform that was taken at last year’s 3rd Plenum. In April, Central Propaganda Department director Liu Qibao published a long essay on the topic, while Xinhua released a first annual report on the converged development of China’s new media a few weeks ago.

This convergence policy is a direct consequence of the growth of China’s social media and the development of technology. Throughout the early 2000s, China’s traditional propaganda outlets remained preoccupied with classical media forms, including print and broadcasting, while paying less attention to developing Internet-specific technologies and approaches. But the rapid price drop of smartphones and the expansion of mobile broadband meant that fewer and fewer audiences obtained their information through legacy channels. Furthermore, these new platforms enabled netizens not only to obtain, but also to generate information. This fostered the successive proliferation of Weibo and WeChat, platforms where the government’s voice was relatively absent. Weibo came to public prominence through its role in events such as the 2011 Wenzhou train crash, leading some observers to openly speculate that the Party would no longer be able to control and contain the spread of information.

The Party recognised the impact of social media and the difficulty that it faced in maintaining dominance in the sphere of public opinion, and particularly since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, launched a succession of policy initiatives and campaigns to tame the autonomy of online media and mobilise it for its own purpose. It went after Weibo first: a well-publicised campaigns against “Big Vs” – online celebrities and opinion leaders not affiliated with the state – curtailed political discourse on the platform, chasing many influential voices to the comparatively much more private environment of WeChat. Simultaneously, local governments and departments were encouraged to set up their own Weibo accounts, in order to more closely engage with their populations. More recently, WeChat came into the spotlight: in March, a number of popular public accounts were blocked, while recent new regulations impose real name obligations for all users, and a licensing process for public accounts.

Having largely eliminated the autonomous public voices that Weibo and WeChat rendered possible, this convergence programme now seems aimed to reconstruct public discourse in the Party’s image. This is a multi-pronged initiative, which encompasses news and current affairs, but also central and local government-society communications. The convergence programme seems mainly oriented towards the former, as the propaganda leadership aims to re-establish dominance in the area of news and current affairs, with its traditional content providers – People’s Daily, CCTV and Xinhua – in the lead. These outlets are encouraged to develop interactive and audiovisual content, such as the cartoon about China’s leadership selection process that garnered quite a bit of attention last year, and to create mobile client apps and websites to present their content to audiences in a more attractive manner. The objective: to render a picture of normality that is subconsciously accepted by China’s population, without having to resort to overt indoctrination. As a People’s Daily editorial put yesterday:

Media communication work essentially is the work of creating people’s thoughts. Invisible propaganda is the most brilliant communication. Coercion is ineffective, only by bringing life as the spring breeze and rain, by silently watering everything is it possible to reach people’s hearts.

It is not yet clear how this initiative is supposed to be realised in practice, and the published announcements remain vague in their descriptions of policy measures and specific objectives. It is purported that convergence will result in “a batch of new-type, competitive mainstream media with diverse forms and advanced methods, a number of new media groups that are strong in power, dissemination strength, credibility and influence, and a modern communication system that is three-dimensional and diverse, with converged development”. To this end, reports indicate that the leadership will rely on the expertise in the generation of correct content of traditional media enterprises, as well as the capabilities that private technology and media companies have built up in developing marketshare and creating attractive products for users. In other words, there seems to be a growing recognition that the Party and state do not need to be in charge of the entire value chain, as long as they are able to intelligently use solutions developed elsewhere for their own purposes.

There are indications that this will lead to an approach not too dissimilar to the tack taken to attract foreign technology over the past decades: allowing private players access to profitable markets under conditions where they have to cooperate with state-owned enterprises, for instance in the form of joint ventures. In his April article, Liu Qibao indicated that it would be more efficient for the administration to use existing smartphone technology, social media platforms and app stores, rather than invent its own, which possibly implies greater efforts to co-opt China’s Internet giants into the state-directed system.  The People’s Daily quotes  Yu Guoming, a professor of journalism at Renmin University of China:

Concerning the convergence between the networks of the future and communication media, Yu Guoming said that in the future, mergers between websites and traditional media will become necessary. There are three main points for future development. The first is good content, this is the strong suit of traditional media; the second is technological support, the third is insights into users, traditional media themselves have insufficient insight into the market, and Internet companies are extremely strong, they are the most able to develop the market through big data and many other such methods.

In any case, share prices of state media enterprises have gone up considerably. This is not strange, given the fact that this announcement effectively means that more investment will be poured into central media enterprises, and they will be given privileged positions in important developing information-based markets. One previous example is the People’s Daily Public Sentiment Monitoring Office, which now dominates the highly lucrative market for reports on public opinion. Similar possibilities for other companies are tantalising prospects for investors. For citizens, it signals yet another advance for a technocratic regime that uncannily resembles Huxley’s imagination.

People’s Daily People’s Commentary: Only by Embracing Convergence Can Traditional Media Have a Tomorrow

Li Haoran

News employees can hardly contain their excitement, all kinds of interpretative articles successively “fill the screen”, shares of People’s Daily Online and other media are trading up… As soon as the news that the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform deliberated and passed the “Guiding Opinions concerning Promoting the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media” at its 4th meeting was published, it attracted close attention from various circles.

As early as last year, the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress clearly pointed out: “integrate news media resources, promote the converged development of traditional media and new media”. This passing of the Guiding Opinions undoubtedly means a further detailed implementation of the reform deployment of the Plenum. This both lets people see the determination and courage of the Centre in firmly moving forward with real knives and real guns, and gives prominence to how urgent vigorous planning and arranging matters as early as possible is in an ever-changing communication structure. Continue reading

People’s Daily: Telling China’s Story Well in a New Converged Media Structure

This article was originally published in People’s Daily on 19 August

Guo Ping

As the “lowered head tribe” are ambling through the torrent of information, they might not yet have paid attention to the fact that media themselves are seeing a profound change.

From the People’s Daily client coming online ceremoniously to the wind and waves stirred up in a short time by ThePaper.cn, and again to a number of Internet portal websites’ resigning themselves to “also being traditional media” as new media swiftly storm the beaches, the harbinger of media transformation have arrived everywhere already. And the starting gun has officially gone off on 18 August 2014. This day and this year will be written into the annals of history as the first year of converged media development in China. Continue reading

SIIO Spokesperson’s Comments concerning the “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services”

This interview was originally posted on the Xinhua website.

The State Internet Information Office convened a press conference on the 7th, to announce the “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services” (hereafter simply named “Regulations”), which imposes standards on instant messaging service providers, user services and user conduct, and puts forward clear management demands for engaging in public information service activities through instant messaging tools. To this end, a Xinhua journalist interviewed a SIIO spokesperson. Continue reading

Notice concerning Strengthening Education on Ideals, Convictions and Moral Conduct in Cadre Education and Training

Yesterday, the CCP Central Organization Department issued new requirements concerning cadre education. Amongst others, they demand active resistance to Western norms and concepts. The notice has not been made public, the following is a translation of a summary in today’s People’s Daily. 

Yesterday, the Central Organization Department issued the “Notice concerning Strengthening Education on Ideals, Convictions and Moral Conduct in Cadre Education and Training”, which demands that all localities and all departments strengthen education on ideals, convictions and moral conduct, and guide and assist cadres to continuously persist in Communist ideals and faith in Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and continue to hold fast to the spiritual garden of Communist Party members. Continue reading

Pay High Attention to Online Ideological Security

This article by Lieutenant-General Li Dianren of the National Defence University was published first in the Chinese Journal of Social Science, and republished on Seeking Truth online, on 15 June.

Li Dianren

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that cybersecurity and informatization are two wings of one bird and two wheels of one cart, they must be uniformly planned, uniformly deployed, uniformly moved forward and uniformly implemented. In constructing a strong network country, we must, together with strengthening informatization construction and guaranteeing the security of information infrastructure, give high regard to building a social governance system for the network, guarantee ideological cybersecurity, and incessantly strengthen our capacity to protect cybersecurity.

I, We must put safeguarding ideological cybersecurity in an equally important position as safeguarding information technology security. Continue reading

State Council publishes new Copyright Law Revision Draft

On 6 June, the State Council Legal Affairs Office published a new draft to revise the Copyright Law (h/t China IPR). This is the third draft that has been published, reviving an process that had fallen someway out of the spotlight during the turbulent first year of the Xi administration. The State Council is accepting responses and opinions concerning this draft until 5 July. After this, it will conceivably be sent to the National People’s Congress for further reading. I am currently comparing the new version with the second revision draft, published by the National Copyright Administration in 2012, and will publish a full translation and comment in due course. In the mean time, the State Council’s accompanying explanatory document is translated below.

Explanation of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” (Submission Version of the Revision Draft)

In order to smoothly carry out the revision work of the Copyright Law, the National Copyright Association has established a special “National Copyright Administration Leading Group for Copyright Law Revision Work” and a “National Copyright Administration Expert Committee for Copyright Law Revision Work”, these broadly solicited opinions and suggestions from all walks of society concerning work to revise the law, and have entrusted three education and research work units that are relatively influential domestically in the area of copyright to draft separate expert suggestion drafts for the revision of the Copyright Law. After the first versions of the Copyright Law Revision Drafts were created, the National Copyright Administration solicited opinions respectively from the social public, legislative, judicial and administrative departments, as well as corresponding social organizations, through its official website and special letters, it organized or participated in specific conferences directed at soliciting opinions in specific areas, specific sectors of specific departments, and heard suggestions and opinions in face-to-face meetings with relevant interested subjects. More than a year ago, on the basis of broadly listening to the opinions of the social public and domestic and foreign relevant organs, and through repeated research, analysis and argumentation, it created the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” (Submission Version of the Revision Draft) (hereafter simply named Submission Version”). Hereby, the relevant content from the Submission Version is explained as follows: Continue reading

Stimulating New Online Media to Shape an Objective and Rational Online Ecology

This article by SIIO vice-director Ren Xianliang was published in Red Flag Manuscripts on 9 June. It mainly takes stock of the development of broad trends online, and identifies challenges to be overcome. Specifically, it points to the development of new models of communication and information management, as well as the development of new online activities such as banking, as opportunities to be exploited as well as challenges to be managed. Furthermore, it identifies cybersecurity as a necessary component of further Internet development, referring to the establishment of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization earlier this year. In terms of steps forward, it continues the emerging discourse of strengthening top-level design, strengthening norms and standards, and relying on the industry and citizens themselves to play an important role in developing an organic “network ecology”. Ren implies that the crackdown which started next year and has continued hitherto may become the new normal. In other words, we can expect continued harsh action against critical voices and potential risks, while the commercial development of the industry will be stimulated.

Ren Xianliang

Abstract: Even thought there are differences in international society on how to manage the Internet, the attitude of “the Internet needs stronger governance” is consistent. No country can permit the Internet to become a “land outside the law”. The Centre has decided to establish higher-level Internet management organs, which expanded top-level design strength, rationalized and integrated online governance structures, realistically upgraded new media application levels and governance levels, and promoted the shaping of an objective and rational online ecology from the height of modernizing the country’s governance capacity.

This year is the 20th year since China gained access to the international Internet. In 20 years, the information technology revolution has brought something new every day, Internet applications and innovations emerge one after another, they have rapidly merged into every aspect of society, and have promoted China’s economic and social development to an unprecedented depth and breadth, and changed people’s production and living methods. At present, China’s Internet development is showing new tendencies, which merit research.

I, The new trends of network development.

Wu Hequan, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Engineering has described the development of China’s Internet for the last 20 years as follows: “We have bypassed the PC era where computers were central and figures were the main interface, we have bypassed the network era in which software was central, we have reached the cloud computing age where data is central, we have reached the era of the Internet of things in which applications are central and the Internet is fundamental”. Scientific and technological development and innovation is boundless, the new business models and new trends in the Internet era are numerous. At present, our country’s Internet development mainly has the following new characteristics:

1. Big data, cloud computing, the Internet of things and other new-generation Internet technologies will profoundly change economic development methods, and production and life methods.

Informatization has become a strong driver for the promotion of economic and social transformation, the realization of sustainable development and the upgrading of a country’s comprehensive competitiveness worldwide. As the clearest symbol of informatization, the Internet has entered the era of big data, cloud computing and the Internet of things. Through more than twenty years of rapid development, our country has developed into a large country of new Internet technology and applications: the number of netizens exceeds 600 million, ranking number one globally; there are 4 million websites, and we are only second to the US in the quantity of website visits; there are 1.2 billion mobile phone users, and the number of mobile network users exceeds 800 million.

After the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly pointed out: “without informatization, there is no modernization”, and “promote industrialization, urbanization and the modernization of agriculture through informatization”. A while ago, the “National New Urbanization Plan (2014-2020)” was promulgated, into which intelligent cities were written. This is both a major plan that is related to the future of the country and the fate of its cities, and is an important handhold for our country’s sustainable and healthy economic development. On the one hand, the rapid move ahead with urbanization has provided a broader space for the development of China’s Internet; on the other hand, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data and other such informatization technologies will see accelerated innovation and gain wide application in this process, providing powerful driving support to optimize the composition of future cities. Intelligent cities are a high-level stage of urban informatization, and represent the development trends of future urbanization. To live in intelligent cities, intelligent traffic systems can help you chose the best route, long-distance healthcare systems can allow you to enjoy treatments at home, intelligent domestic servers are able to provide the most reasonable health suggestions on the basis of temperature, humidity, body temperature and other indications. The realization of these functions is inseparable from big data, is inseparable from cloud computing, and inseparable from the Internet of Things, it may be said that intelligent cities are the organic integration of the real world and the digital world. In more than 20 cities in our country, intelligent city demonstration point work has begun, by 2025, government investment in intelligent cities promises to exceed 2 trillion Yuan, which will rapidly drive the accelerated growth of related industrial chains and enterprises, foster new converged industrial forms across areas, and create 4 million job opportunities.

Big data is not equal to “big amounts of data”, but it is cross-sectoral, comprehensive, dynamic and meaningful data. Some people say that big data is the “gold” of the Internet industry, enterprises track users’ “data footprints” through the Internet of Things, they then integrate and analyse it in order to provide a basis for policy decisions for enterprise development. Because of this, to a certain degree, a huge mass of users means market potential and development prospects. In the last two years, e-commerce has rapidly expanded in our country, and ever more businesspeople have forcefully expanded online channels outside of traditional sales models, ever more people have changed their purchasing habits, they love online shopping, they stay at home and enjoy entertainment on Haitao. Last year, our country’s e-commerce market exchange value reached 10 trillion Yuan. From 2010 onward, the competitive commercial activities by which Internet service businesses have vied for market share with their commercial adversaries have grown ever more intense, they not only influence the ecology within the industry, they have also radiated to netizens numbering in hundreds of millions. Last year, Yu’ebao advertised with an interest rate that is higher than current deposit accounts with banks, and in three months, accumulated 16 million new accounts. Starting in the second half of 2013, Yu’ebao, “Huoqitong” (jointly rolled out by Tencent, Tenpay, Huaxia Fund and Huaxia Money), “Baifa Financial Management” (under the banner of Baidu) and other such Internet finance management products have successively emerged, and the competition in the electronic commercial banking area as turned white hot.

It can be imagined that the daily renewal of new Internet technology not only deeply changed social and economic development methods and people’s production and living standards, they have also put forward a series of new topics and new challenges for economic and social management.

2. Wearable terminal equipment is appearing, and mobile Internet development profoundly influences social development trends.

The mobile Internet with smartphones and tablet computers as terminals has grown explosively, and is one of the clearest characteristics of the development of China’s Internet in the past two years. In life, everyone can directly experience the quantity of mobile netizens. In the underground, on buses and in cafes, everywhere the “lowered head tribe” can be seen, they listen to music, watch movies, buy things, chat, read, etc., and all of this is realized on mobile phones. When getting together with friends or dining with relatives, mobile phones must always be placed on the table, it is as it is said: “the longest distance in the world is not between me at the edge of heaven and you at the corner of the sea, but it is when you are playing with your mobile phone when I’m next to you”.

Mobile terminals are not only mobile phones and tablet computers, wearable equipment will initiate a new and more magnificent chapter for the mobile Internet. During the Two Meetings period this year, pictures of a People’s Daily journalist wearing Google glasses during interviews aroused considerable interest. Google glasses have a similar function to smartphones, they can take pictures through voice command, record conversations, give directions and surf online, process written information and e-mails, although they are not yet openly sold, similar wearable terminals undoubtedly will be one of the development directions of the mobile Internet. The evolution and renewal of these terminals not only changes the production methods of media, it also influences people’s news consumption customs, up to the point where they influence social development trends. The annual report on news media published by the American Pew Research Centre (State of the News Media 2013) shows that nearly one third (31%) of American youths have abandoned one medium (including stopping to read a paper medium, or no longer watching a television channel), the reason for that abandonment is that these media are no longer able to provide the news they want. At the same time, the largest global social media site, Facebook, has become the largest news reading network un the US, 64% of US youths use this website monthly.

Among Chinese netizens, the proportion of people using mobile phones to go online has risen from 74.5% at the end of 2012 to 81.0%, far higher than the proportion of netizens using other means to go online. Following the expansion of 3G and 4G networks, some industry models, business models and commercial models have incessantly replaced older iterations. QR code tracing technology has been adopted in the production and sale of Xinjiang Aksu apples, to supervise and control the production, logistics and consumption process of apples. These small applications have brought a brand premium of 20-30% to enterprises, reduced losses through counterfeits, safeguarded consumers rights and interest, and engendered a very good social effect and economic effect.

The expansion process of the mobilization of internet business is already comprehensively spreading out, funds, technology and talent are rapidly gathering together, and this is becoming one of the areas developing the most rapidly, in which competition is the most intense and innovation is the most vivacious.

3. The Central Leading Group for Internet Information has been established, this means that cybersecurity and informatization construction have been elevated to being a national strategy.

Last year, Snowden and the “PRISM” plan put the severity of the issue of online information security in the face of the entire world. It woke up every person and every country: online information systems have become basic platforms and nerve centres for political, economic, cultural and social activities, if they are destroyed, it may bring grave consequences to financial communications in an entire country, to energy and transport, defence and military affairs, and many other areas relating to the national economy and people’s livelihoods, as well as core national interests. The network has broken through national boundaries in the traditional sense, they are a sort of “new frontier” for countries, major countries’ value understandings concerning cybersecurity are incessantly deepening, cyberspace security has been elevated to the height of national security strategy, and is planned and directed as such. The US, the UK, France, Germany and other major countries have all formulated cyberspace security strategies. According to incomplete statistics, more than 50 countries have already published cybersecurity strategies, more than 40 countries have established cyber warfare units. It may be said that the most important battlefield in global competition in the next ten years will be the Internet.

Being a large Internet country is not the same as being a strong Internet country. Our country currently has 4 million websites, and ranks first worldwide in the number of netizens, it has the highest quantity of broadband access, and only ranks second to the US in terms of website visits, it is truly a large Internet country worthy of that name. But, there are some indicators that are lacking behind levels of developed countries worldwide, such as the rate of Internet penetration. By December 2013, our country’s Internet penetration rate was 45,8%, less than 50%. On the other hand, the market value of our publicly traded Internet companies is still far behind in comparison with the U.S, China’s Internet enterprises established after 2005, so far have not emerged on domestic trading lists. In the area of safeguarding cybersecurity, although we have exerted grave efforts, regulatory structures are incomplete, methods are not rich, technology is not up to the mark, this creates very large risks in cybersecurity. Only in 2013, 2430 of our country’s government websites were altered, a comparative growth of 34.9%. Especially the Internet area lacks indigenously innovated core technology, from hardware to software, from basics to applications, from products to services, a large difference exists with Western developed countries and even with South Korea and India. 82 per cent of servers, 73.9 per cent of storage devices, 95.6 per cent of operating systems and 91.7 per cent of databases in our country’s government departments and important sectors are foreign products. Our country’s annual import of chips is worth in excess of 200 billion US dollars, which is higher than the 120 billion US dollars of imported oil. US Internet enterprises have seemingly penetrated into every segment of our country’s cyberspace, covering all areas of information technology. At the same time, in online life, the lawful rights of network users, and individual privacy have repeatedly been violated, online viruses, the human flesh search engine, cyberattacks, online secrecy theft and other such phenomena occur frequently.

Promoting online information security requires incessant technological innovation, only through scientific and technological innovation will it be possible to occupy the commanding heights of information technology. Our country’s Internet enterprises do not innovate sufficiently, emerging Internet enterprises are not strength, and other such problems exist that constrain the expansion of our country’s network power, even though we have a huge mass of Internet users, it is still difficult to fully give rein to the advantages of our country’s Internet market. Because of this, national cyberspace strategy and planning brooks no delay, and the matter of cybersecurity is extremely urgent. On 27 February of this year, General Secretary Xi Jinping convened the fist meeting of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization. The Central Network and Information Leading Group is the third important body that works across Party, government and military lines, in which General Secretary Xi Jinping is the direct head and Premier Li Keqiang is the first vice-director. This body is not only a leading group for informatization, but has also put cybersecurity in a prominent position, it is considered together with the overall national informatization strategy, which has a major strategic significance. In this meeting, General XI Jinping stressed that: “Without cybersecurity, there is no national security, without informatization, there is no modernization”, clearly putting forward the strategic objective of building our country into a strong network country. It may be foreseen that our country’s future Internet development will proceed at the same pace as the “Two Centuries” struggle objective, and will incessantly proceed towards the objective of the basic penetration of network infrastructure, the clear strengthening of indigenous innovation capacity, the complete development of the information economy, powerfully guaranteeing cybersecurity.

II, The new characteristics of online public opinion dissemination

The application of new Internet technologies has changed all people’s information consumption methods. Where traditional media and especially printed media are concerned, being able to adapt to information network dissemination trends is an opportunity, not being able to adapt or not being able to follow this trend is a risk. In the first period of Internet development, some traditional paper media, radio stations and television stations built their own websites, and published content from newspapers, broadcasts or programmes at the same time. In this period, the network was, in fact, a new carrier for the traditional media industry, and had a strong instrumental flavour. After the Internet entered the Web 2.0 era, the properties of the Internet have seen a series of new changes, what we have felt most clearly is that you can not only brose website content, you can also publish opinions and express viewpoints online, this was a change from pure “reading” to “writing” and even “jointly building”. The various sorts of new technologies fostered by the network has changed traditional media into public opinion spaces in which common people are able to jointly participate, especially after the popularization of blogs and microblogs, barriers to content publication and dissemination have reduced greatly. The uni-directional dissemination and passive audience reception model of tradition media has been replaced by new media, represented by the Internet, with equal exchange and interactive dissemination, which pay more attention to user experience, satisfy the diversified demands and are disseminated in real-time, public opinion dissemination has thus seen a number of new characteristics.

1. The social mediafication of online media has made individualized information screening normal, and information dissemination chains more dynamic.

The core of change of China’s online media in the last ten years is the change from stressing the relationship between people and content to increasingly stressing the relationship between people. QQ, Weibo, WeChat, YiXin, YY and Momo, these products have greatly tightened the distance and space for free exchange and communication between people, we are no longer simply locked into a relationship between people and content. Everyone in a socialized chain conducts a second dissemination of information after screening it. This selective process has made information progressively shift from “public use” to “private enjoyment”, for example, on the WeChat platform, you can freely read or reject all sorts of information on the basis of your individual interest, and you can resend information you approve to specific persons, finding a true audience for this information.

This autonomous and dynamic process of dissemination is a clear characteristic of the social media relationship chain. People can push change in content production models with regard to their specific information demands, content production subjects may become more pluralized, and the “customized” information “special oven” that people forge may become even more individualized. Still, this individualized content on social media cannot replace mass media, it may even be said that newspapers, television, etc., still are indispensible information sources and content producers. Japan conducted a survey of social media users in Tokyo and eight other countries (the capital and the countries are Japan’s first-level administrative divisions) in 2012, the results demonstrated that among people who regularly post texts or publish information on social media, about 30% of the content they post originates from newspapers, television and other mass media reports. Although information sourced from mass media is far less than the information created by themselves, in terms of reliability, 58.3 per cent of people who regularly publish information believe that newspaper information can be trusted, and those believing that main page content from television stations, enterprises, organizations, etc. can be trusted respectively number 45.9 per cent and 38.2 per cent. Information originating from social media is held to be not so trustworthy, among the abovementioned survey participants, only 10.2 per cent trusts information originating from social media.

On our country’s new media platforms, high-quality news content equally is a decisive factor in attracting users. This is exactly the forte of mainstream media, political authority, specialized content, brand influence and market share are the loci of the advantages of “mainstream media”. Now, mainstream media is trying all possible means to uphold its content superiority, and at the same time paying attention to using the form of social media to strengthen interaction with audiences. The People’s Daily’s legal persona microblog already has in excess of 30 million fans, and has become an influential media microblog. Xinhua has opened a special new media line, and uses multimedia methods to provide rich products and information services to users, the Central Television Station ” Television Audiovisual” user terminal has in excess of 210 million users, spread across more than 190 countries and regions. By the end of November 2013, there were 103 websites in China that provided microblog services, with a total number of microblog accounts in excess of 1.3 billion; media microblogs have rapidly developed, only on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, there were more than 37.000 media body accounts. The People’s Daily Online, CCTV News, the Voice of China and other such media have opened up and accessed the news user end, they collect many kinds of broadcasts in one go and rely on “news + subscription models”, the news customer end is beginning to realize the objective of complete mobile media platforms, these are all beneficial attempts towards media convergence that break through traditional dissemination methods. It may be said that, under new media circumstances, the new media-ification, transformation and development of mainstream media is conducting coordinated breakthroughs and innovation through production models, content models, channel models, user models and other complete industry chains, and a new kind of public opinion structure is being shaped.

A healthy and flourishing information society inevitably is inevitably one in which individual information and public content exist at the same time and mutually supplement each other, individual information respects the differences between groups’ demands, and public content is the “glue” of society. Completely fragmented information and highly homogeneous information both have negative influences. The former may entail a state of disunity, without any voice that can be dominant, with a lack of trust between groups and between audiences, and with a cyberspace flooded with unverified discourse lacking a sense of responsibility. The latter means that there is no exchange between groups, that they all talk to themselves, creating grave group polarization.

2. The fragmentation of information and the microization of communication are other notable characteristics of present-day online communication.

In an internet era where information is highly developed, social life is becoming more pluralized, the rhythm is becoming ever faster, information demands are becoming ever more diverse. One notable characteristic of the new forms of network media communication is “micro-communication”, information is becoming fragmented, content production increasingly stresses conciseness and brevity, liveliness and speed. Microblogs only have 140 characters, microvideos only last three minutes, microfilms last less than half an hour. All sorts of micro-content and micro-information are circulating rapidly and circulating across platforms, users can obtain the most information in the shortest time at any time and in any place.

“Micro-communication” has made information circulation increasingly reliant on new Internet technology. During the “Two Meetings” period, People’s Daily Online set up a mobile direct broadcast room for the first time, the four “micros”, microvideos, microblogs, WeChat and micronews daily, integrated and engaged in live broadcast of images and text and real-time reporting of the “Two Meetings”. Xinhua Online set up columns such as “On-the-spot at the Two Meetings”, “The Two Meetings Knowledge Circle: I Contribute Knowledge to Reform”, “The Two Meetings Fans Group” and other such columns on its official microblog platform, to extend the reach of reporting on the Two Meetings to social media. China Network Television recommended reporting on the Two Meetings at the same time, through IPTV, mobile phone television, mobile phone CCTV Online, Internet Television, the CCTV News User Terminal, Cbox CCTV audiovisual user terminals and other such terminals, shaping joint communication forces. China Economic Net pushed out “Where Has the Time of Representatives and Committee Members Gone” and many other series of collected information, which guaranteed the systematicness and integrity of reporting on the Two Sessions, and realizing “brevity, uniformity and speed” in information communication. China Net, China Broadcasting Net, Sohu, Netease, Tencent and other such websites rolled out a series of columns on their mobile user terminals, microblogs and WeChat platforms, including “Micro-Broadcast”, “Micro-Video”, “Micro-Livecast”, etc., and so brought information about the Two Sessions to netizens through mobile terminals instantly.

The traditional media often put up a stance, write lengthy pieces and articles, this communication model of strong pushing and hard pouring is different from online communication, micro-communication is now following its path in a big way. Last year, “How Have Leaders Been Trained” was warmly received online, it was rolled out online in the form of a five-minute cartoon. Within a short few days, the click rate of various large websites exceeded 10 million times, ranking it at the front of similar videos. Netizens applauded it as one, all believing that this video linked up with the climate, it was close to the masses, followed the masses, “cute”, and reduced the distance between central leaders and the popular masses. It expressed a serious political topic in a humorous manner, which was a great breakthrough in propaganda work.

3. Watchability, explaining news with images, cartoons, etc., are increasingly becoming new online communication forms that meet with success.

Shallow reading has become a clear symbol of information fragmentation and micro-communication. Shallow reading is not “superficial”, its essence is speed and skimming, and incessant renewal, sometimes this means “accuratization”, it means that information must have “eyeball effects”.

Search engines have made “customized” shallow reading possible, what different keywords bring all is “fragmented” information, the details of events emerge before an overall view, the process of people absorbing information displays the characteristics of going from points, to threads, and then again to surfaces. Some websites use cloud computing and big data to optimize media content production, storage and analysis workflows, enhance their data processing capacity, fully unearth the news value behind big data, broaden news sources, enrich new content and provide high-quality news information products to users. In this year’s Spring Festival period, CCTV and Baidu have cooperated in using big data analysis to report the movement and circulation of people during the Spring Festival, this is not only accurate, watchable and trustworthy, but it brings a completely new impression to people. Watchability, images, cartoons and other information dissemination forms have greatly raised people’s sense of cheerfulness and joy in reading, they have guaranteed the interest for online information in the process of dissemination, and provide information volumes to the broadest possible extent.

4. Network public opinion communication not only requires paying attention to the production of news information sources, but also great attention for the guidance and maintenance of information dissemination and circulation processes.

If we do not pay attention to information dissemination and circulation processes, it will be difficult to avoid that information changes appearance halfway. Quite a few positive reports have, because of devious appraisal by some Big Vs with ulterior motives, because of interference by some public relations companies employing navies, or the flood of following posts by me-tooist netizens, during the process of dissemination become online negative energy in the end. Because of this, communication through new media, represented by the Internet, is opposite to traditional mainstream media, and we must pay ever more regard to guiding and maintaining the process of dissemination, pay ever more regard to guiding online comments and managing tracking posts during the process of communication, pay ever more attention to the construction of online comment teams and the education, training and management of website editors, and truly build a line of teams with strong politics, excellent business skills and a solid work style.

III, New explorations in network management.

Even though there are great differences in international society on how to manage the Internet, there is a consistent attitude that “the Internet requires stronger governance”. No country can permit the Internet becoming a “land outside the law”. The Centre has decided to establish a higher-level Internet management body, which from the height of modernizing the country’s governing capacity, will expand top-level design strength, rationalize and integrate the cybergovernance structure, realistically enhance new media application levels and governance capacity, and promote the shaping of an objective and rational online ecology.

1. Building an Internet legal system, strengthening top-level design.

This is an urgent need for maintaining order in cyberspace and guaranteeing cybersecurity, it is also a necessary condition to participate in the formation of international standards and increasing our international cyber discourse power. The Centre pays high regard to network legislation, the 18th Party Congress and its 3rd Plenum have clearly indicated the necessity to strengthen the construction of a network legal system, expanding strength to manage the network according to the law, and stimulate that the network is operated according to the law, according to norms and in an orderly manner. In February of this year, at the first meeting of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed again that we must grasp the formulation of legislation and planning, perfect laws and regulations for Internet information content management, crucial information infrastructure protection, etc., govern cyberspace according to the law and safeguard citizens’ lawful rights and interests.

At present, our country’s network legislation is mainly composed of two component parts, one part is traditional laws and regulations, that can be directly applied to the network, or can be applied to the network after revision or interpretation, another part consists of special legislation for the network. Generally speaking, this network legislation has mostly been formulated in thy early period of Internet development, and contains problems such as being insufficiently up to date, lacking focus, and systematicity, they are relatively low-level norms, etc. Following the rapid development of the network, and the incessant emergence of mobile Internet, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, e-commerce and other such new technologies and new businesses, the problem of cybersecurity has become more prominent every day, the existing legislation can no suit the needs of network management and development, it is urgently necessary to conduct top-level design and comprehensive planning, and vigorously launch legislation, alteration, abolition and interpretation work.

2. Free and safe circulation of online information relies on the order of norms.

Currently, the “Internet Information Service Management Regulations”, the “Internet News Information Service Management Regulations”, the “Minors Protection Law” and other such laws and regulations are unequivocal on obscenity and sex, vulgar information and other such content prohibited online. The State Internet Information Office has, in cooperation with other departments, launched many special campaigns to deepen and expand regulating the online order, and clean up cyberspace. In the area of standardizing online news broadcasting order, on 9 May 2013, A special campaign of two months on norms for the Internet news information broadcasting order was deployed and launched on a nationwide scale, with a focus on acts violating regulations such as news source indications not being standard, releasing false and inaccurate information, maliciously altering news titles, illegally using the name of news organs to release news, etc. In the area of attacking online rumours, in August 2013, public security organs nationwide launched a special campaign to deal with online rumours, the Supreme Court and Supreme Procuratorate especially rolled out a corresponding judicial interpretation, and a batch of online celebrities, such as “Qin Huohuo” and “Li’erchaisi” were successively caught. At the same time, Beijing regional websites’ joint anti-rumour platform came online, which rapidly integrated and disseminated information to refute rumours. In the area of norms for self-media, on 10 August 2013, the State Internet Information Office director Lu Wei and more than 10 online celebrities had a discussion, in which it was pointed out that online celebrities should bear even more social responsibility and disseminate positive energy, and it was put forward that they should observe the “Seven Baselines”. At the same time, clear requirements were put forward for the rapidly developing instant communications tool WeChat, as well as for Weibo accounts set up by foreign groups, bodies and foreign government leaders. In the area of cleaning up online obscenity, sex and vulgar information, this year on 13 April, the Nationwide “Sweeping Away Pornography and Striking Illegality” Work Group Office, the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Public Security jointly issued the “Report concerning Launching a Special Campaign to Attack Online Vulgar and Sexual Information”, to conduct a one-time comprehensive clean-up of online obscene, sexual and vulgar information, including on the mobile Internet. At the same time, they announced channels to accept social supervision, and coordinate with the development of the special campaign through real actions. Civilised countries are inevitably countries that have a good Internet order and use Internet content healthily. Only if government, media, netizens and other pluralized actors join hands, and build coordinated governance mechanisms, will it be necessary to strengthen online governance and guarantee the order of the online media ecology.

3. Sector self-discipline is an important component part of Internet management.

“Government strengthening management, the sector strengthening self-discipline” is a widespread method of Internet management in various countries worldwide. In 20 years, our country has progressively explored and established Internet management systems integrating legal norms, administrative supervision, sector self-discipline, technological guarantees, public supervision and social education, sector self-discipline has become an indispensable and important component part of our country’s Internet management. Some Internet sector self-discipline organizations launch explorations and research in close step with Internet developments, vigorously coordinate with government to strengthen sector management, and have made prominent contributions to promoting our country’s Internet development and the construction of a network culture with Chinese characteristics. The Capital Internet Society established in 2004 has shaped constraints on Internet enterprises mainly through the three mechanisms of the “Beijing Network News Information Advisory Council”, the “Website Self-Discipline Commissioner” and the “Mummy Inspection and Approval Team”. In the beginning of this year, Tencent published the letter of proposal “Declaration of War Against Online Fraud and Black Industry Chains”, directed to all of society and business circles, which sounded the trumpets of war against online fraud and black industry chains. As a network business, the sector self-discipline that Tencent proposes has the advantages of being formulated relatively simply and having great applicability and flexibility. At the present juncture, this can not only give rein to a regulatory role concerning individual acts of information processing or a barrier role until official laws are promulgated, it can also accumulate experiences for the formulation and promulgation of corresponding laws. In early April, the China Internet Finance Association was established, this national-level association’s members include banks, finance companies and other such traditional financial bodies, it is aimed at implementing self-discipline and management over the Internet finance sector, promotes the creation of uniform sector service norms and standards, guides Internet finance enterprises to implement their social responsibility, and stimulates the healthy development of the overall sector. At present, the great development, great convergence and great change of the Internet have become fixed modes, the areas that self-regulation organizations explore are ever wider, and their forms may grow increasingly diverse. These sector organizations will give full rein to a driving role, a serving role and a node role in self-discipline construction, perfect self-discipline norms, complete self-discipline frameworks, vigorously launch online information public appraisal, civilized website selection and other such activities, guide business circles to run the network according to the law, sincerely and in a civilized manner, and promote the sustained and healthy development of the Internet sector.

4. Raising citizens’ individual online cultivation is the basis of managing and using the Internet well.

The increase in Internet, mobile equipment and social media use has resulted in an increasing difficulty of the people’s mastering available information. Creating norms for Internet development, apart from perfecting laws and regulations and strengthening management and sector self-regulation, must rely on the people’s self-consciousness support to a very large degrees. This requires netizens to strengthen their consciousness about public opinion pacts, foster thinking to objectively deal with news events and persist in safeguarding the public interest, and use an open and tolerant attitude to deal with Internet information dissemination.

Looking from the composition of our country’s Internet, raising the information cultivation of the youth and students brooks no delay. At present, our country’s youth comprise 235 million netizens, or 41.6 per cent of the total number of netizens. They are in a crucial period in which their worldviews, views of life and value views are formed, at the same time that the network and new media make it convenient for youths to study and live, they also engender quite a few negative influences. The rapidity and openness of online information disseminations easily create difficulties of screening information for youngsters who are inexperienced in the ways of the world, this is not beneficial for the fostering of their thinking ability and judgment ability. At the same time, the flood of vulgar information, online rumours and other such false information may mislead social understandings, and dilute or supersede the education on mainstream ideology and morals for a number of youths, and their value views may be distorted or deviated.

In recent years, various government departments have conducted a series of explorations and trials in the areas of forcefully advocating that minors use the Internet in a civilized and green manner. In November 2013, the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Education, the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League and other such work units jointly guided one hundred websites nationwide to launch a campaign of loving concern for the youth and the network: “Green Network – Help Dreams to Fly”. Within this, Internet law and regulation lectures and dissemination activities were aimed at the young masses, these propagated and disseminated knowledge about Internet laws and regulations and common knowledge about surfing safely and healthily, guiding youths to strengthen their consciousness about law, raising youths’ network self-cultivation and legal consciousness, and shaping scientific, civilized, healthy and law-abiding surfing habits.

Fostering online civilization and cultivation is not a work of one day. Commercial departments must make online culture rule of law and moral education a part of their practice in building a Socialist core value system, and raise citizens’ willingness to consciously safeguard the healthy and orderly development of online culture. We must both implement the “Cybersecurity Knowledge Entering Schools” campaign, and give rein to the main channel function of ideological and political education in all classes and special classes on the Internet, in daily school education and management, we must bring students’ online morals into curriculum teaching and strive to realize minors’ online self-education, self-restraint and self-protection.

(The author is the Vice-Director of the State Internet Information Office).

Deeply Study and Implement the Spirit of the Series of Important Speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping

On this day, many have opined on the future of China’s political constellation, and the Party’s legitimacy. I have little to add to the excellent writings that have been published in recent weeks. For the moment, however, it seems that the new leadership aims to continue and intensify the line it has quite consistently taken since the 18th Party Congress, as evidenced by this editorial in Seeking Truth, published on 1 June. This number of Seeking Truth seems to be dedicated to Xi Jinping’s speeches, with five further articles of exegesis on different topics. 

Scientific theory is the quintessence leading the times, the spirit of an advanced political party, and a guideline for the people’s practice. Since the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping stood on the height of the development of the times, based himself on the entire picture of international and domestic developments, and made a series of important speeches in which he put forward a series of new ideas, new viewpoints and new judgments, which profoundly answered major theoretical and practical questions involving the undertaking and development of the Party and the country, revealed the governing ideas, reform thinking and strategic resolutions of the new-generation central leading collective, and further deepened out Party’s understanding of the laws of Communist Party governance, the laws of Socialist construction and the laws of human societies’ development. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of important speeches are the newest theoretical achievement of persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics, they persist in and develop Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought, and they are a magnificent programme and guideline for action to realize the “Two Centuries” struggle objective from a new historical starting point.

With every step that the Party’s theoretical innovation is pushed forward, its theoretical weapons will follow in step. At present, studying and implementing the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping is a major political task for the entire Party. The Party Centre pays great attention to this matter, has made a comprehensive deployment, and adopted a series of powerful measures to promote this. All levels’ Party organizations are, according to the demands of the Centre, to put studying the spirit of the speeches in a prominent position, meticulously organize and arrange matters, and arouse an upsurge of studying and implementing the spirit of the speeches. Through the previous period of study, propaganda and implementation, thoughts have been powerfully unified, spirits have been stimulated, and forces have been concentrated, this promoted a change in the Party style and the governance style, and stimulated Party and State work in all areas. We must continue to make persistent efforts to further remain diligent in keeping abreast and deep study, to remain diligent in taking real action and acting honestly, even better use the results of the Party’s theoretical innovation to unify thoughts, concentrate forces and deepen reform, and open up a new dimension for the undertaking and development of the Party and the country.

To incessantly deepen studying and implementing the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, it is first and foremost necessary to comprehensively and correctly grasp the rich content of the speeches. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of important speeches focused on the main themes of the times: persisting in and developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, they are developed from all areas and all aspects of the undertaking and development of the Party and the country, and constitute a systematic and scientific theory. We must study the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping well, there is no shortcut to take, we must make bitter efforts in reading the original texts, study them from beginning to end, read them piece by piece and sentence by sentence, ensure that we understand, master and penetrate them. On this basis of mastery through comprehensive study, the spirit of the speeches can be grasped as an integrated system, on the basis of a comprehensive grasp, our understanding of the scientific content of the speeches can be deepened. At present, studying generally speaking is good, but there are also some situations in which understandings are incorrect and mastery is not comprehensive. For instance, in dealing with the overall objective of comprehensively deepening reform, stressing “moving forward the modernization of the State’s governance system and governance ability” and overlooking “perfecting and developing the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics”; in dealing with the relationship between government and the market, stressing “letting the market have a decisive factor in the allocation of resources” and overlooking “giving rein to the role of government even better”, and so on. These one-sided understandings are directly related to not studying sufficiently completely. This requires that when we deepen our study, we not only must profoundly understand the origin, formation and development of the spirit of the speeches, and deepen our understanding in all areas and all aspects, we must also understand the spirit of the speeches from the whole, understand the spirit of the speeches by integrating historical experiences and the viewpoints of other theories that they share, strive to grasp this systematic scientific theory, and prevent the emergence of subjectivism and one-sidedness in theoretical study and application. At the same time, we must also integrate studying the spirit of the speeches with Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, integrate it with Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important “Three Represents” thought and the scientific development view, integrate it with the spirit of the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, truly ensure mastery through comprehensive study and a complete grasp, strengthen our firmness and self-confidence in matters of theory, and realistically raise ideological and theoretical levels.

In incessantly deepening the study and implementation of the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, it is crucial that we correctly grasp the essence of the speeches. To study and implement the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping, we must not only gasp their rich content, we must also grasp their ideological marrow and spiritual essence, grasp the firm ideals and convictions that penetrate the speeches, their strong assumption of responsibility, their sincere care for the people, their clear orientation on questions and their scientific thinking methods. “Revolutionary ideals are higher than heaven”. This speech was penetrated from beginning to end with a high degree of consistency with the highest programme and the most basic programme of the party, they highly unite this red line, they define clear limits and attitudes on major issues of paths, orientations and viewpoints, and fully reflect the firm ideals and convictions, and clear political standpoints of Communist Party members. Through study, build firm and ambitious Communist ideals, unwaveringly persist in and develop the ideas of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.” “Responsibilities are heavier than Mount Tai”. This speech pointed out how the idea of Socialism with Chinese characteristics came about, where it will go, in which historical position our Party finds itself in the progress of the Chinese nation’s civilization, which historical burdens it must bear, and which historical tracks it must proceed on, it fully reflects a profound sense of history and a sense of the actual times, and fully reflects the burden of the responsibility for the Party, for the country, for the nation, for the people and for history. Through studying it, strengthen a sense of worry, sense of mission, sense of enterprise, never be self-satisfied, never slacken, dare to take responsibility dare to undertake matters, and open up a path ahead to climb the high peaks to implement the general objective and general responsibility of comprehensively deepening reform. “The Interest of the People Is Higher than Everything”. This speech stressed that “the people’s yearning for beautiful lives is our struggle objective”, we must have true compassion with the popular masses and may never become separated from the masses, and it fully reflects a sincere and profound concern for the people. Through studying it, resolve well this basic question of “for whom, relying on whom, who am I”, create new achievements that can endure the tests of practice, the people and history, realistically ensure that development is for the sake of the people, development relies on the people and the fruits of development are shared by the people. “Questions Are Slogans of the Times”. This speech was penetrated with a strong consciousness about questions, a clear orientation of questions, and fully reflected the scientific attitude of seeking truth and acting pragmatically of Communist Party members. Through studying it, strengthen acuity in discovering questions, the clarity to squarely face questions, and the consciousness to resolve questions. The speech was penetrated with Marxist stands, viewpoints and methods, it was good at summarizing laws, clarifying positions, grasping larger trends, and initiating the future on the point of intersection between both international and domestic situations, and the point of intersection of history, the present and the future, it fully reflected the authority of scientific thinking methods. Through studying it, we must greatly increase our grasp of a scientific worldview and methodology, make great steps ahead in enhancing our ability of strategic thinking, innovative thinking, dialectical thinking, and bottom line thinking, and even better undertake the responsibilities that history has entrusted to us.

Incessantly deepening out study and implementation of the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping is for the sake of even more consciously guiding new practices with the spirit of the speeches. The objective of studying them is application. We must forcefully carry forward the Marxist study style of linking up theory and practice, make efforts to “truly believe” “truly study”, “truly understand” and “truly apply”, and make efforts to strive for actual results. We must truly integrate studying with resolving questions about our own worldviews, views of life and value views, with building high-tension wires and firewalls against corruption and in favour of clean government, consciously draw boundaries between great matters of right and wrong, firmly resist the influence of all sorts of mistaken thoughts, even better use the spirit of the speech to deepen our understanding, transform our thinking and arm our minds. We must closely link up with the reality of reform and opening up, and modernization construction, closely link up with the reality of Party building, strive to use the spirit of the speeches to guide the promotion of the practice of reform and opening up, transform the results of studying the speeches into ways of thinking and measures to stimulate sustained and healthy economic and social development, transform them into concrete policies and real actions to comprehensively deepen reform, transform them into new progress in resolving urgent questions in the masses’ production and lives, transform them into new achievements in resolving the problems of the “Four Work Styles”, and transform work styles, and ensure that the process of study becomes a process to liberate thoughts, break through difficulties and enhance work levels.

Let us even more closely unite around the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as general secretary, and unwaveringly use the spirit of the series of important speeches by General Secretary Xi Jinping to arm our minds, unstintingly implement the spirit of the speeches in all areas of reform, development and stability, ensure that they gain achievements that can stand the tests of practice, the people and historical experience, for the sake of comprehensively deepening reform, and making ever greater contributions to seizing new victories for Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

 

MIIT Chief Engineer On China’s Cybersecurity Policy

This speech by MIIT Chief Engineer Zhang Feng was published on Sohu on 29 May.

On 20 May, Zhang Feng, the Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology presented a substantive report at the 2014 Annual Chinese Conference on Computer and Network Security

The transcript of Zhang Feng’s speech is as follows:

Zhang Deng: Respected Vice-Provincial Head Liu Zhigeng, Vice-Minister Liu Xiaoying, Academician Wu Hequan, Academician Ni Guangnan, Secretary Chen Maohui, Mayor Zheng Renhao, all guests:

Good morning everyone! I am very happy to meet with all of you in Shantou, Guangdong, to participate in the 2014 Annual Chinese Conference on Computer and Network Security. The theme of this year’s conference is “Cooperating in Protection – A Secure Future”, it revolves around building a secure and reliable network environment, it promotes common efforts between government departments, sector organizations, enterprises, practical departments, science and technology institute and other sides, to shape effective pooled forces for prevention, and it has an important significance. Here, I have the honour of representing the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to express warm congratulations concerning the convention of this annual conference. I also express sincere wishes of welcome to all present guests.

2014 marked the 20th anniversary of our country’s connection to the Internet. Through 20 years of development, our country has become a large cyber country worthy of that name. By the end of last year, the number of netizens in China exceeded 600 million, among whom 500 million netizens used mobile phones, there are 18.44 million domestic domain names, and 3.16 million websites in total. Last year, our country’s government successively published many major policies in the area of information and telecommunications. The State Council promulgated the “Some Opinions concerning Stimulating Information Consumption and Broadening Internal Demand” and the “‘Broadband China’ Strategy and Implementation Plan”, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued 4G licenses to three basic telecommunications enterprises, and launched trial points for private capital to develop mobile telecommunications reselling businesses. These major measures have created a benign environment for the further development of our country’s information and telecommunications.

Even so, the development of the Internet has brought a series of challenges to the economy and society, and especially the question of cybersecurity is becoming more complex every day. On the basis of monitoring data from the State Internet Emergency Response Centre, between January and April of this year, the number of hosts infected with Trojans or zombie networks within the borders of our country reached 4.86 million, more than 20.000 websites were tampered with, backdoors were implanted into 18.000 websites, and there were nearly 5.000 phishing pages imitating domestic websites. “Prism”, the “.cn domain name attack”, “Microsoft ceasing service provision to XP systems”, “grave security leaks existing within OpenSSL” and other such incidents have successively and incessantly sounded our alarm bells. At the same time, new technologies and new businesses have rapidly developed, which brought new security risks. The broad application of cloud computing has increased information leakage risks and the difficulty of dealing with incidents; social media networks have provided new channels for hackers’ attacks and cybercrime; mobile payment security and mobile terminal security have become new challenges. Attacks against these networks and security threats harm the interests of the broad netizens, impair the healthy development of the sector, and create grave threats to economic and social development, as well as national security.

Not long ago, the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization was officially established. General Secretary Xi profoundly pointed out that “without cybersecurity, there is no national security”, “cybersecurity and informatization are two wings on the same body, two wheels of the same cart, we must uniformly plan them, uniformly deploy matters, uniformly move forward and uniformly implement plans.” We must profoundly comprehend the spirit of the General Secretary’s important speech, and from the height of guaranteeing national security, safeguarding the public interest and stimulating informatization development, fully understand the importance and urgency of doing cybersecurity well under new circumstances, and struggle diligently to build our country into a strong cyber country.

Under the uniform deployment of the Party Centre and the State Council, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has deeply moved forward the construction of cybersecurity protection systems in recent years, according to the policy of vigorous use, scientific development, management according to the law and guaranteeing security, it incessantly perfected the establishment of cybersecurity standards, norms and mechanisms, strengthened cybersecurity emergency response and management, expanded the strength to govern the public Internet environment, and organized self-discipline work in the cybersecurity sectors, it made vigorous progress. Next, I will further talk about a few points of opinion on further doing cybersecurity work well, focusing on prominent problems that we face in the area of cybersecurity at present.

I, Vigorously responding to cybersecurity threats, forcefully strengthening guarantees for key information infrastructure. At present, basic information networks as well as important information systems relevant for the national economy and the people’s livelihood face ever more complex security threats, and especially the organized attacks they face have become more complex and diverse. At the same time, the application of next-generation Internet, cloud computing, mobile Internet, the Internet of Things, big data and other such new technologies has brought new security risks. Basic telecommunications enterprises and important information systems operation departments should play a central role in guaranteeing the satisfactory implementation of all rules and measures to guarantee cybersecurity, strengthen security monitoring before the purchase of crucial equipment, strengthen security protection of networks and information systems, regularly carry out compliance surveys and risk assessments, timely discover and eliminate major security risks, and incessantly raise the ability to resist attacks against crucial information infrastructure.

II, Strengthening indigenous innovation capacity, raising the security and controllability levels of information technology and services. We must, with enterprises at the centre, raise innovation capacity, promote technological progress and industrialization, follow and grasp the main direction of new-generation information technologies, strive to make breakthroughs in core and crucial technologies such as integrated circuits and crucial electronic components, high-end routers and servers, operating systems, databases, etc., strengthen coordination and integration capacity with regard to crucial and core technologies. Incessantly enrich Internet information services, strive to foster specialized applications, stimulate technology and business model innovation, and satisfy the diversified information demands of our country’s social public. Strengthen the construction of cybersecurity technology teams and labs, forcefully raise core cybersecurity technology capacities concerning locating leaks, analysing malicious code, tracing attacks, evidence-gathering, etc., perfect cybersecurity evaluation methods, stimulate the rapid and healthy development of the cybersecurity industry.

III, Developing ways to deal with malicious code on the mobile Internet, creating a healthy mobile ecology and environment. Following the development and popularization of 3G and 4G networks, smartphones have progressively become a major tool for people to go online. At the same time, driven by economic interests, law-breakers have made the mobile Internet into a main battlefield, the categories of malicious mobile code has become numerous and its quantity has become huge, which gravely harms users’ personal interests. In order to clean up the mobile Internet environment and protect the lawful rights and interests of users, in April of this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has, together with the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, launched a special campaign to deal with malicious code on the mobile Internet, according to the work thinking of governance according to the law and dealing with both root causes and symptoms, this fully gave rein to the roles of government supervision, sector self-discipline and social supervision, and strengthened security management through joint steps forward from smartphones’ using the internet to segments such as the development and dissemination of mobile applications, etc., and attacked the use of malicious code to engage in unlawful and criminal activities according to the law. I hope that basic telecommunications enterprises, Internet enterprises, terminal manufacturing enterprises and security enterprises realistically implement their security responsibilities, fully give rein to their superiorities, strengthen joint sectoral action and information sharing, let them vigorously participate in comprehensively dealing with malicious mobile Internet code, and make positive contributions to forging a healthy mobile Internet environment.

IV, Strengthening sectoral cooperation, completing cybersecurity incident coordination and joint handling mechanisms. To respond to cybersecurity threats and clean up the Internet environment, it is necessary that there is uniform understanding and close coordination between government departments, and between governments and enterprises, at the same time, it is necessary that all walks of society and the road users together raise their consciousness about prevention and strengthen protection measures. Basic telecommunications enterprises, value-added telecommunications enterprises, Internet enterprises, security businesses, etc., must realistically take up their corporate social responsibility, strengthen cooperation and coordination with State cybersecurity protection forces, establish and complete cybersecurity emergency response, handling and coordination mechanisms that are agile in their operations and flexible in their response, they must further strengthen early warning and handling, raise emergency response efficiency, and forge active prevention systems within our country in which the investigation of leaks and dangers, discovery threats of attack, and response to incidents are integrated, and many sides act together.

V, Strengthen international cooperation, strive to raise our country’s discourse power in international cyberspace governance. Internet governance requires broad exchange and cooperation between all countries worldwide, and the construction of a fair and reasonable international order for cyberspace. In recent years, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has, together with other departments, vigorously participated in and promoted the process of intergovernmental cyberspace security cooperation through the United nations, the International Telecommunications Union, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation organizations, etc., it guided corresponding work units to strengthen cooperation in the International Standardization Organization, professional associations and other relevant organizations. In the area of cybersecurity emergency response organization and cooperation, the National Internet Emergency Response Centre has established joint mechanisms with 59 countries and 127 organizations, and strengthened cross-border cybersecurity incident technology coordination procedures. The Ministry of Industry and Information technology will further broaden international exchange and cooperation in the area of cybersecurity, at the same time, it will support emergency response organizations, sectoral associations, enterprises, etc., to develop diverse ways of international cooperation, and jointly stimulate the formation of an international consensus and behavioural norms that are beneficial for the development of the Internet.

Guests, friends, following the rapid development of the Internet, the problem of cybersecurity has become ever more prominent and ever more important. This Conference has created a platform for colleagues in cybersecurity circles to share information and exchange technology, I hope everyone is able to use this opportunity to speak out freely and exchange ideas. Finally, I wish that this annual conference is crowned with complete success.

Thank you all!

工信部张峰:要进一步落实好网络安全工作
5月28日,工业和信息化部总工程师张峰在2014中国计算机网络安全年上做主旨报告。
以下为张峰演讲实录:
张峰:尊敬的刘志庚副省长、刘小英副部长、邬贺铨院士、倪光南院士、陈茂辉书记、郑人豪市长、各位来宾:
大家上午好!很高兴与大家相聚在广东省汕头市,共同参加2014中国计算机网络安全年会。本届年会以“携手防护·安全未来”为主题,围绕构建安全可靠的网络环境,推动政府部门、行业组织、企业、应用部门、科研院校等各个方面的共同努力,形成有效的防护合力,具有重要的意义。在此,我谨代表工业和信息化部,对年会的召开表示热烈的祝贺!对各位来宾的到来表示诚挚的欢迎!
2014年是我国接入国际互联网20周年。经历20年的发展,我国已成为名副其实的网络大国。截止去年底,中国网民数量已突破6亿,其中手机网民规模达到了5亿,国内域名总数1844万个,网站总数316万个。去年,我国政府在信息通信领域相继出台了多项重大的政策。由国务院发布了《关于促进信息消费扩大内需的若干意见》、《“宽带中国”战略及实施方案》,工业和信息化部向三家基础电信企业发放了4G牌照,向民营资本开展了移动通信转售业务的试点工作。这些重大的举措为推进我国信息通信业进一步的发展创造了良好的环境。
然而,互联网的发展也给经济社会带来了一系列的挑战,尤其是网络安全问题日益复杂。根据国家互联网应急中心监测的数据,今年一到四月,我国境内感染木马僵尸网络的主机达486万台,被篡改的网站有2万余个,被植入后门的网站有1.8万个,仿冒我国境内网站的钓鱼页面有近5千个。“棱镜门”、“.CN域名遭攻击”、“微软停止对XP系统提供服务”、“OpenSSL存在严重安全漏洞”等事件,接连不断地给我们敲响了警钟。同时,新技术、新业务快速发展也带来了新的安全风险。云平台的应用普及加大信息泄露风险和事件处置的难度;社交网络成为黑客攻击和网络犯罪的新途径;移动支付安全和移动终端安全成为了新的挑战。这些网络攻击和安全的威胁,损害了广大网民的利益,妨碍了行业健康的发展,对经济社会发展和国家安全造成了严重的威胁。
前不久,中央网络安全和信息化领导小组正式成立。习总书记深刻地指出,“没有网络安全就没有国家安全”,“网络安全和信息化是一体之两翼,驱动之双轮,必须要统一谋划、统一部署、统一推进、统一实施”。我们要深刻领会总书记的重要讲话精神,从保障国家安全、维护公众利益、促进信息化发展的高度,充分认识新形势下做好网络安全工作的重要性和紧迫性,为把我国建设成为网络强国而努力奋斗。
在党中央、国务院的统一部署下,近年来工业和信息化部按照积极利用、科学发展、依法管理、确保安全的方针,深入推进网络安全防护体系的建设,不断完善建立网络安全标准规范和机制,加强网络安全应急管理,加大互联网公共环境治理的力度,组织开展了网络安全行业自律工作,取得了积极的进展。下面,围绕当前网络安全领域面临的突出问题,我就进一步做好网络安全工作谈几点意见。
一、积极应对网络安全的威胁,大力加强关键信息基础设施安全保障。当前,基础信息网络以及关系国计民生的重要信息系统等面临着越来越复杂的安全威胁,特别是面临的有组织攻击更加复杂多样。与此同时,下一代互联网、云计算、移动互联网、物联网和大数据等新技术的应用带来了新的安全风险。基础电信企业、重要信息系统运营部门应当发挥主体作用,确保网络安全保障各项制度、措施落实到位,加强关键设备采购前的安全检测,加强网络和信息系统的安全防护,定期开展符合性评测和风险评估,及时发现并消除重大安全隐患,不断提高关键信息基础设施的抗攻击能力。
二、增强自主创新能力,提高信息技术和服务安全可控水平。要以企业为主体,提升创新能力,推动技术进步和产业化,跟踪和把握新一代信息技术的重点方向,着力突破集成电路和关键电子元器件、高端路由器和服务器、操作系统和数据库等核心关键技术,加强关键核心技术的协同和集成能力。不断丰富互联网信息服务,着力培育特色应用,促进技术和业务模式创新,满足我国社会公众多样化的信息需求。加强网络安全技术队伍和实验室的建设,大力提升漏洞挖掘、恶意代码分析、攻击溯源取证等网络安全核心技术能力,完善网络安全评估方法,促进网络安全产业快速、健康地发展。
三、开展移动互联网恶意程序治理,营造健康的移动生态环境。随着3G、4G网络的发展和普及,智能手机逐渐成为人们上网的主要工具。同时,受经济利益的驱动,不法分子把移动互联网作为主阵地,移动恶意程序种类繁多、数量巨大,严重危害用户的切身利益。为净化移动互联网的环境,保护用户的合法权益,今年4月,工业和信息化部会同公安部、工商总局启动了打击治理移动互联网恶意程序的专项行动,按照依法治理、标本兼治的工作思路,充分发挥政府监管、行业自律、社会监督的作用,从智能手机进网和移动应用程序的开发、传播等环节同步加强安全管理,依法打击利用恶意程序从事违法犯罪活动。希望基础电信企业、互联网企业、终端制造企业和安全企业切实履行安全责任,充分发挥各自优势,加强行业联动和信息共享,积极参与到移动互联网恶意程序的综合治理中来,为营造健康的移动互联网环境作出积极的贡献。
四、加强业界合作,健全网络安全事件协调联动处置机制。应对网络安全的威胁、净化互联网环境,需要政府部门之间、政府和企业之间统一认识、密切配合,同时需要社会各界及广大用户共同提高防范意识、加强保护措施。基础电信企业、增值电信企业、互联网企业、安全厂商等要切实承担企业的社会责任,与国家网络安全保障力量加强协作配合,建立健全运转灵活、反应灵敏的网络安全应急处理协调机制,进一步强化预警处置、提高应急效率,打造我国集漏洞隐患排查、攻击威胁发现、事件响应处置于一体的、多方联动的主动防御体系。
五、加强国际合作,努力提高我国在网络空间国际治理中的话语权。互联网治理需要世界各个国家广泛地交流与合作,构建公正合理的网络空间国际秩序。近年来,工业和信息化部与有关部门一起积极参与和推动了联合国、国际电信联盟、亚太经合组织、上海合作组织等政府间网络空间安全合作的进程,指导相关单位加强了与国际标准化组织、行业协会等相关组织的合作。在网络安全应急响应组织合作方面,国家互联网应急中心已经与59个国家和地区的127个组织建立了联络机制,加强了跨境网络安全事件技术协调处置。工业和信息化部将进一步扩大网络安全领域的国际交流与合作,同时支持应急组织、行业协会、企业等开展形式多样的国际合作,共同促进形成有利于互联网发展的国际共识和行为准则。
各位来宾,各位朋友,随着互联网的快速发展,网络安全问题越发突出也越发重要。本次大会为网络安全业界同仁搭建了一个信息共享和技术交流的平台,希望大家能够利用这个机会,畅所欲言、交流思想。最后,预祝此次年会取得圆满成功。
谢谢大家!

 

 

SIIO Vice-Director Wang Xiujun: Cybersecurity Is a Major Strategic Question

This interview with SIIO vice-director Wang Xiujun was published in People’s Daily on 18 May.

Q: What is the major significance of establishing the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization?

WXJ: Because of historical reasons, our country’s Internet management and cybersecurity management was a matter of “Nine Dragons Controlling the Waters”, and many malpractices exist, such as multi-headed management, overlap of functions, a lack of uniformity between powers and responsibilities, low efficiency, etc., which have entered a state where they must be solved. Although there were coordinating mechanisms before, on the basis of the developments and changes of the circumstances, it is necessary to further raise its level and strengthen its authority, and make it have the final say in policymaking, guidance and supervision with regard to major matters, complex issues and difficult problems by strengthening tis concentrated and uniform leadership.

Our country’s cybersecurity and informatization leading mechanisms have been adjusted several times, but they have never been raised to the highest State levels before. Following the incessant rise in the position and role of cybersecurity and informatization in national security and development, it is also objectively needed to make cybersecurity and informatization into a major national strategy, to be grasped by the highest Party and State leaders personally. Many countries worldwide have also made cybersecurity and cyberspace development work into national “boss projects”.

The degree of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization is higher than ever before. This fully reflects the high level of attention that the Party Centre pays to cybersecurity and informatization work. In order to carry out the implementation of the Leading Group’s decisions well, the Centre also established a Leading Group Office, which is the same organ as the State Internet Information Office with a second plaque.

Q: Cybersecurity involves many areas, when we stress cybersecurity at present, which content does that mainly include?

WXJ: At different times, there have been different appellations and understandings of cybersecurity, their content has incessantly deepened, and their extent has incessantly broadened. At present, the cybersecurity that we pay attention to includes ideological security, data security, technological security, applications security, capital security, channel security and other such areas, this involves both objectives and targets for cybersecurity protection, and methods and channels to reflect the maintenance of cybersecurity.

Generally speaking, political security is the essence. At present, foreign hostile power use the Internet as their main channel to infiltrate and destroy us, under the name of “cyber freedom”, they incessantly attack and slander us, they spread rumours to create trouble, and scheme to destroy our country’s social stability and national security; some people play up hot topics or sensitive issues for their political or commercial interest, and even engage in unlawful and criminal activities; new Internet technologies are made into new tools for communication by some people, who disseminate unlawful and harmful information on a large scale. On the Internet, whether or not we can gain victory in the struggle of ideological infiltration and anti-infiltration, decides to a very large extent the future of our Party and country.

Another major area of cybersecurity is the security of networks and information systems. The “Stuxnet” virus of a few years ago caused great destruction to Iran’s nuclear facilities, which revealed that crucial infrastructure had become a target for attack through cyber armament, which might lead to disastrous outcomes. The Snowden incident and others indicate that a small number of countries use their Internet infrastructure resources and information technology advantages to carry out cyber surveillance on a large scale, steal large amounts of political, economic and military secrets as well as enterprises’ and individuals’ sensitive data, some also control major networks and information systems in other countries from a long distance. Just think, in a period of danger, if a country’s crucial infrastructure, which involves the national economy and the people’s livelihood, is attacked and paralysed, and control even over military command and control systems is taken over my others, that will bring “the nation in peril”.

Q: Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that cybersecurity and informatization are two wings of one body, two wheels of one cart. How do you see the relationship between cybersecurity and informatization?

WXJ: For a long time, there have been some disputes concerning the relationship between cybersecurity and informatization. We certainly see that some applications have come up, and security problems followed in their wake; some new technologies emerged, and traditional technological cybersecurity defences and management regulations lost their use. Comrade Xi Jinping has made an extremely profound elucidation of this, which swept away the confused understandings that existed in the past. Without cybersecurity, the quicker informatization develops, the larger the harms it creates may become. And without the development of informatization, economic and social development would lag behind, cybersecurity would have no guarantees, and the security that there is might be lost. The demand of “protecting development with security and stimulating security with development” fully reflects Marxist dialectics and reflects the scientific development view.

Cybersecurity is a new problem that emerged through the progress of informatization, it can only be resolved through the process of development with the method of development. We cannot simply guarantee freedom by not going online, not sharing and not interacting, or one-sidedly stressing the construction of an autarchic network. The result of acting in this manner can only be unnecessary duplicate construction, a large amount of online resources would not be fully used, increasing the cost of informatization and reducing its benefit, and so development opportunities would be lost. This sort of “lazy politics” thinking must be gotten rid of. We must strive to realize technological innovation, structural and mechanism innovation, we must incessantly shape new ways of thinking, new ideas, new measures and new skills to maintain cybersecurity.

Q: The Centre has made a general composition of cybersecurity and informatization work, in which areas is it necessary to further make breakthroughs going forward?

WXJ: The Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization convened for the first time on 27 February, it deliberated and passed the 2014 Focus Work Points for the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, and arranged cybersecurity and informatization work for the present and future periods. The top priority is urgently implementing this, and ensuring that all work points are done meticulously, substantially and satisfactorily. We must strengthen top-level design and strategic planning, accelerate the formulation of cybersecurity and informatization development plans, macro-level planning and major policies; innovate and improve online propaganda, carry forward the main melody, arouse positive energy, and comprehensively govern the online ecology; accelerate the formulation of urgently needed laws, regulations and technical standards for cybersecurity and informatization, strengthen indigenous innovation, and build cybersecurity guarantee systems; forcefully upgrade informatization levels in all areas of the national economy and social development, stimulate the development of information industries, promote the digitized development of culture, publishing, radio, film and television, and push military-civilian integration forward; accelerate talent team construction, upgrade the entire society’s consciousness about cybersecurity, and persist in accelerating talent training across areas, categories and levels.

 

 

China’s Response against U.S. Cyberespionage Indictment of PLA Staff

As could be expected, Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that criminal charges concerning hacking would be brought against five PLA soldiers elicited an immediate and vehement Chinese response. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the following reaction on its website (MFA translation):

On May 19, the US side announced indictment against five Chinese military officers on allegation of cyber theft. This US move, which is based on fabricated facts, grossly violates the basic norms governing international relations and jeopardizes China-US cooperation and mutual trust. China lodged protest with the US side right after the announcement, urging the US side to immediately correct its mistake and withdraw the “indictment”.

The position of the Chinese government on cyber security is consistent and clear-cut. China is steadfast in upholding cyber security. The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets. The US accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded and absurd.

It is a fact known to all that relevant US institutions have long been involved in large-scale and organized cyber theft as well as wiretapping and surveillance activities against foreign political leaders, companies and individuals. China is a victim of severe US cyber theft, wiretapping and surveillance activities. Large amounts of publicly disclosed information show that relevant US institutions have been conducting cyber intrusion, wiretapping and surveillance activities against Chinese government departments, institutions, companies, universities and individuals. China has, on many occasions, made serious representations with the US side. We once again strongly urge the US side to make a clear explanation of what it has done and immediately stop such kind of activities.

Given the lack of sincerity on the part of the US to solve issues related to cyber security through dialogue and cooperation, China has decided to suspend activities of the China-US Cyber Working Group. China will react further to the US “indictment” as the situation evolves.

Soon after, both the Ministry of Defence and the State Internet Information Office posted their own rebuttals (My translations):

Ministry of Defence Spokesperson Geng Yansheng Issues Statement on the U.S. Department of Justice Indictment Against Chinese Soldiers

Beijing, 19 May. With so-called “theft of online commercial secrets”, the U.S. Department of Justice has indicted five Chinese soldiers. The Chinese side has expressed strong indignation and firm opposition to this, and has put forward stern representations to the U.S. side.

The Chinese side’s position on the issue of cybersecurity is consistent and clear. The Chinese side is a firm upholder of cybersecurity, the Chinese government and military have never engaged or participated in any activity of stealing commercial secrets through networks. The so-called “theft of online commercial secrets” and other statements from the U.S. side are fabricated out of nothing, they confuse public opinion, and have ulterior motives.

For a long time, relevant departments on the U.S. side have relied on the advanced technology and infrastructure they controlled to conduct large-scale and organized online secrecy theft, monitoring and surveillance activities against foreign government leaders, enterprises and individuals, this is a fact known to everyone in the world. From “WikiLeaks” to the “Snowden” affair, the U.S. side’s hypocrisy and double standards on the issue of cybersecurity have become abundantly clear. The Chinese military is a grave victim of this sort of actions by the U.S. side. According to statistics, the Chinese military’s user terminals accessing the international Internet have suffered large amounts of attacks from abroad in recent year, and IP addresses reveal that a considerable quantity of these attacks originate from the U.S. The Chinese side demands that the U.S. side provides a clear explanation concerning online theft of secrets, monitoring and surveillance activities against the Chinese side, and immediately ceases this kind of activity.

At present, the relationship between the Chinese and U.S. militaries is generally developing well, this move by the U.S. side runs counter to its commitments to “strive to build a healthy, stable and reliable relationship between both armies”, and gravely harms mutual trust between both sides. The U.S. side should realistically show good faith and move the healthy and stable development of relationships between the Chinese and U.S. armies forward with real actions.

 

State Internet Information Office Publishes Newest Statistics on U.S. Attacks Against Chinese Networks

On the 19th, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of five Chinese soldiers on the grounds of so-called online theft of secrets. On this matter, journalists interviewed a spokesperson of the State Internet Information Office. This spokesperson revealed the newest data on U.S. attacks against Chinese networks to these journalists, saying that it is the U.S. that is the largest online thief of secrets in the present world, and is the number one aggressor against Chinese networks.

This spokesperson said that the newest data of the Chinese National Internet Emergency Response Centre indicates that between 19 March and 18 May of this years, 2077 Trojans or zombie network control servers located in the U.S. directly controlled about 1.18 million hosts within our country’s borders.

During this same period, the Centre’s monitoring discovered that 135 hosts located in the U.S. contained 563 phishing pages aimed at websites within our country’s borders, resulting in 14.000 instances of online fraud and infringement, which mainly includes fake websites, fraud involving personal location information, personal data information, password information, etc. This sort of activities includes theft of commercial secrets as well as online fraud, resulting in huge harm suffered by Chinese netizens.

The Chinese National Internet Emergency Response Centre also discovered that between 19 March and 18 April, 2016 IPs located in the U.S. implanted backdoors in 1754 websites within our borders, and the number of incidents involving backdoor attacks is about 57.000. In data from the same period last year, the U.S. was equally placed first, these are undisguised acts of cybercrime.

The spokesperson pointed out that against this background, the U.S. indictment of five Chinese soldiers on the grounds of so-called online theft of secrets is purely utter nonsense, it is purely an unfounded counter charge, like a thief crying to stop the thief.

As verified by relevant departments within our country, the U.S. has conducted large-scale surveillance, offensive and invasive activities against Chinese government departments, bodies, enterprises, universities and telecommunications backbone networks for a long time, U.S. monitoring activities involve Chinese leaders, common netizens, the broad mobile telephone users, etc. China has repeatedly raised stern representations with the U.S., demanding that the U.S. side ceases this sort of mistaken act. Hitherto, the U.S. has never apologised in any way for its illegal activities to the Chinese people, and has not restrained itself in the slightest. Even after Snowden exposed the U.S. National Security Agency’s “Prism” and other such surveillance plans, and the U.S. was condemned throughout the world, it not only failed to engage in critical self-examination, but instead, it accused others, which truly made it an object of universal ridicule.

The spokesperson said that China is a firm upholder of cybersecurity, the Chinese government opposes acts of cybercrime of whatever form, and firmly opposes baseless criticism of China. If the U.S. side continues to insist on doing things its own way, China will adopt measures towards a determined counterattack.

Furthermore, the U.S. ambassador in Beijing, Max Baucus, was summoned to the MFA. Also, in a move widely seen as a further response to the indictment, China’s Central State Agencies’ Government Procurement Centre issued supplementary regulations to tendering standards concerning energy-saving information products (computers, tablets and printers), which may not contain Windows 8 software. Chinese computers still mainly run Windows XP, and its reliance on foreign operating software has been an increasing concern for cybersecurity. Efforts to develop home-grown alternatives have strengthened, and a first mobile OS, China Operating System, was presented in January.

Personally, I believe this move is deeply problematic. First, while China has not quite been a responsible international citizen with regards to hacking, the Snowden revelations have cost the U.S. the international support and moral position it needs to make a convincing case. Second, a state-initiated criminal case is not conducive to the argument the U.S. Government is trying to make, which claims that national security-related hacking (permitted) and commercial hacking (naughty) are separated. A corporate-initiated civil suit against a Chinese company using hacked information might have more effect. It might hit Chinese companies in their (international) wallets, raising the costs of engaging in hacking, and maintain enough distance between corporate and government to ensure that intergovernmental dialogue could continue. As it stands, China gets to make easy points on Snowden and the NSA, while it is not clear to me what the estimate of an acceptable exit strategy or endgame on the U.S. side is. Yes, we need rules of the roads in cyberspace, which will require mutual restraint and well-understood self-interests from all involved sides. Shoot-from-the-hip criminal lawsuits will not foster that.

This story will develop over the days to come, and this blog will follow Chinese editorials and reactions as they come out. In the mean time, a ChinaFile conversation (in which I participate) is developing, and the following online resources provide useful insights:

With Spy Charges, U.S. Draws a Line That Few Others Recognize (NY Times)

For U.S. Companies That Challenge China, the Risk of Digital Reprisal (NY Times)

More Thoughts on the DOJ China Indictment (Lawfare Blog)

People’s Daily Editorial on Global Internet Governance

This editorial was published first in People’s Daily on 28 April 2014.

For Internet Governance, Norms and Standards are Crucial

In recent days, the Global Internet Governance Conference sponsored by the Brazilian government was organized in Sao Paolo, Brazil, representatives from more than 20 national governments, corporate circles and science and technology circles engaged in broad discussion, and passed a series of non-binding international norms that various countries may use in their Internet management. Even so, outside of this series of norms, it should also be considered that in the process of global Internet governance, the acceleration of formulating rules has become extremely urgent.

After 25 years of development, the Internet has completely renewed people’s ways of work and life. [Everyone], from the common people to national governments, at the same time as enjoying the conveniences brought by the Internet, has successively experienced the negative influences and security risks that exist on the Internet. The Internet security concerns that started with last year’s “Prism” incident, have aggravated every day, pursuits of interest are incessantly expanding, and the desire to strengthen Internet governance has become ever more prominent.

Last month, the US expressed its willingness to transfer its supervisory power over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), this is a positive signal emerging in the global Internet governance area. But Internet governance is not limited to the allocation of spaces for Internet addresses, it also depends on control of Internet technology standards, as well as how all countries can jointly build an online environment that is peaceful and secure, open and fair, free and orderly.

Internet governance should respect the UN Charter and generally recognized norms of international relations, i.e. recognizing and respecting all countries’ sovereignty in cybersace, including the formulation of relevant law, regulations and policies on the basis of the development levels of that country’s information technology, language and culture, and according to the will of the broad masses of that country; managing that country’s information infrastructure as well as online activities on that country’s territory according to the law, protecting that country’s information resources from threats according to the law, and guaranteeing citizens’ lawful rights and interests.

Internet governance should persist in the principles of broad, multi-stakeholder participation, tolerance and equality. Countries should not be distinguished on the basis of size or wealth, they should all be able to participate fairly in cyber governance, and fairly share in the opportunities that the development of information technology has brought. People should not be distinguished on the basis of sex, race, religion or belief, but should all be able to equally use knowledge and information gained through information technology

Internet governance should persist in the principles of openness and transparency, cooperation and mutual benefit. The formulation of standards, norms and policies related to the Internet should be more open and transparent, developed countries should help developing countries to develop cyber technology, and reduce the information divide.

Internet governance should persist in the unification of rights and obligations. Respect human rights, fully guarantee individuals’ online freedom of speech, confidentiality of communications and privacy. Without online order, how can online freedom come? No person may, when enjoying and exercising online rights and freedoms, harm other persons’ or society’s interests, violate laws and regulations and social morals.

The sponsor of this conference, Brazil, makes people think of the Football World Cup that will be organized in Brazil. The movement of football, from its emergence to it coming into fashion worldwide, is inseparable from incessant perfection of and respect for its rules, only when there are rules is their fairness, only when there are rules is there a basis for competition on the same field. Internet governance is similar. The crux of promoting global Internet governance lies in the fact that all countries worldwide must strengthen coordination, and formulate realistic and feasible global norms and standards. Opinions from all sides and the pursuits of all countries should be taken seriously, and we should strive to reach agreement on rules for cyberspace activities that are accepted by all sides.

Brazil’s Vice-Minister of Foreign Relations Marquedos (*) regarded this conference as a first step on the slow journey of global Internet governance. Global Internet governance requires the joint participation of all interested parties, but also needs to seek a balance between those many interested parties and the role of government, and build joint forces. Now, the majority of countries has already reached a consensus on governance norms in certain areas, we should strengthen the formulation of concrete rules and realistically promote the establishment of governance structures on this basis, and incessantly perfect them in practice, while enhancing our confidence in attacking and overcoming difficulties.

Possible transliteration of the Chinese characters 克多思. I have not been able to verify the name of this minister, nor the statements made.

人民日报钟声:互联网治理,规范和标准是关键

近日,由巴西政府发起的全球互联网治理大会在巴西圣保罗举行,20多个国家政府、企业界、科技界代表就全球互联网治理进行广泛讨论,通过了一系列各国可在互联网管理中运用的非强制性国际准则。然而,在一系列准则之外还应看到,全球互联网治理进程中,加快规则制定迫在眉睫。

经历25年发展,互联网全面刷新了人们的工作生活方式。从普通百姓到国家政府,在享受互联网带来的便利的同时,也陆续感受到互联网存在的负面影响与安全隐患。始于去年的“棱镜门”事件让各国在互联网范畴的安全关切日益加重,利益诉求不断扩大,加强互联网治理的愿望更加凸显。

上月,美国表示愿意让渡对国际互联网名称和编号分配机构(ICANN)的监管权,这是全球互联网治理领域出现的积极信号。但互联网的治理并不仅限于互联网协议地址的空间分配,更在于对互联网技术标准的掌控,以及如何由各国共同构建和平安全、开放公平、自由有序的网络环境。

互联网治理应遵循联合国宪章和公认的国际关系准则,即承认和尊重各国在网络空间的主权,包括根据本国信息技术发展水平、语言文化,按照本国广大民众的意愿,制定相关法律法规和政策;依法管理本国信息设施以及本国领土上的网络活动,依法保护本国信息资源免受威胁,保障公民合法利益。

互联网治理应坚持多利益方广泛参与、包容平等的原则。国家不分大小、贫富,都应能公平参与网络治理,公平分享信息技术发展带来的机遇。人们不分性别、种族、宗教、信仰,都能平等利用信息技术获取知识和信息。

互联网治理应坚持开放透明、合作共赢的原则。有关互联网标准、规则和政策的制定应更加开放透明,发达国家应帮助发展中国家发展网络技术,缩小信息鸿沟。

互联网治理应坚持权利和责任相统一。尊重人权、充分保障个人在网络中的言论自由、通信秘密和隐私。没有网络秩序何来网络自由?任何人在享有和行使网络权利与自由时,不得损害他人和社会公共利益,不能违反法律法规和社会公德。

本次会议的主办地巴西,使人联想到同样即将在巴西举办的世界杯足球赛。足球运动从出现到风靡全球,离不开对规则的不断完善与遵循,有规则才有公平,有规则才有同场竞技的基础。互联网治理亦是如此。推动全球互联网治理的关键在于,世界各国要加强协调,制定切实可行的全球规范和标准。各方意见和各国诉求都应得到重视,力争达成被各方接受的网络空间行为规则。

巴西对外关系部副部长马克多思将本次会议比作全球互联网治理漫漫征程的第一步。全球互联网治理,呼吁各利益相关方共同参与,却也需在多利益相关方与政府作用间寻求平衡,形成合力。现在大多数国家已经就某些方面的治理准则达成共识,应在此基础上加紧制定具体规则、切实推动治理体系的建立并在实践中不断完善、同时增进攻坚克难的信心。

 

 

Liu Qibao: Expand Strength to Move Cultural Structural Reform Forward

This speech of Propaganda Department director Liu Qibao was published first by Xinhua, on 28 March 2014.

The Speech of Liu Qibao, who is the head of the Central Leading Group for Cultural Structural Reform and Development Work, a member of the CCP Politburo and the director of the Central Propaganda Department brimmed with a sense of urgency. He said that the Central Leading Group for Cultural and Structural Reform and Development Work deliberated and passed the “Plan for Deepening Cultural Structural Reform” not long ago, and put forward that the struggle objective for reform is to establish structures and mechanisms that are full of vitality, rich in efficiency and benefit the flourishing and development of culture by 2020, to ensure that the Socialist culture system with Chinese characteristics becomes more mature and more finalized. 2020 is seven years away from now, there is little time, and tasks are grave.

Liu Qibao said this at the meeting of the National Work Conference for Cultural Structural Reform convened on 24 and 25 March. At the Conference, Liu Qibao elaborated on a series of new thoughts, new viewpoints and new requirements of General Secretary Xi Jinping concerning cultural reform and developments. He said that a new round of reform waves had started, and that it was urgently necessary to accelerate the pace of cultural reform and development, promote the coordinated progress of reform of cultural structures and various other areas, and push out ever more and better cultural products.

Liu Qibao pointed out that in the past few years, major advances and clear achievements have been obtained in cultural structural reform, following the incessant deepening of reform, many profound contradictions and problems have manifested themselves; the structures of some cultural work units have been reformed, but operational mechanisms have not been satisfactorily reformed yet, they have not truly become qualified market subjects, this requires that the establishment of modern enterprise systems must be advanced, and legal person governance structures are perfected; after some cultural enterprises have entered the market, they found it difficult to exist and develop by only relying on their own strength, which requires the exploration and establishment of the necessary support mechanisms, and the strengthening of cultural enterprises’ own “hematopoietic” functions and development objectives; the level of interconnectedness of reform in some areas is high, it is difficult to push it forward individually, this requires that cultural structural reform and reform in various other areas must be comprehensively planned, that all areas, all levels and all factors of cultural structural reform must be comprehensively planned, and that the systemicness, integratedness and coordinatedness of reform is guaranteed.

Liu Qibao said that cultural structural reform only has a progressive tense, no perfect tense, we are still on the road, the tasks are heavy and the way is long.

The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress put forward requirements concerning cultural structural reform, for which Liu Qibao provided deployments one by one.

Concerning the perfection of management structures for State-owned management structures, the establishment of management organs for Party Committees and the government to supervise and manage State-owned cultural resources, and promoting the unity of implementing personnel management, management of affairs, management of resources and management of orientations, Liu Qibao said that this is a difficult point, but however difficult it may be, it must be firmly and unwaveringly pushed ahead.

Exploring the implementation of special management and shareholding structures is a major reform measure aimed at already-transformed State-owned media enterprises, the objective is to maintain management power over media enterprises during shareholding system reform from beginning to end. Liu Qibao required that we must grasp the research and formulation of corresponding regulations, clarify the scope of application, subjects of implementation and supplementary mechanisms, persist in preliminary trials, accumulation of experiences and gradual pushing ahead.

The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Conference put forward that we must complete structures and mechanisms to persist in the correct public opinion orientation, Liu Qibao pointed out that it is necessary to aim at new network technologies and applications, vigorously move the integration of newspapers and the network, and [radio and television] stations and the network forward, shape organizational structures, management systems and dissemination systems for integrated development, promote the development of all media, and ensure that traditional media and new media continue to be mainstream media after they are scientifically integrated.

When discussing paying attention to and developing folk and ethnic culture, and striving to establish inheritance structures for excellent traditional culture, Liu Qibao said that, under the great trend of globalization, ethnic and native cultural traditions have an important and irreplaceable, reproductive value, and at the same time face the danger that they are marginalized, replaced, decline or even perish. He passionately said that: “We must keep our homes, and remember our hearths.” He demanded a strengthening of protection for and development of folk culture, the inheritance of unique styles and forms, endowing them with new cultural content, and ensure that excellent folk culture becomes enlivened and is handed on. It is necessary to integrate new urbanization and the construction of a new countryside, with forcefully developing beautiful cities, towns and villages that have a historical memory and regional ethnic characteristics.

Liu Qibao stressed that deployment is ten percent, implementation is ninety percent. We must make implementation into the focus point of moving cultural structural reform work forward, strengthen organizational leadership and work leadership, and closely grasp the correct orientation of cultural structural reform, ensuring our hooves are quick and our pace steady. Member work units of the Small Group for Cultural Structural Reform must, as quickly as possible, research tasks and ledgers for reform in their areas, and strongly move reform tasks in all areas forward.

刘奇葆:加大力度推进文化体制改革
新华网北京3月28日电 作为中央文化体制改革和发展工作领导小组组长,中共中央政治局委员、中宣部部长刘奇葆的讲话充满了紧迫感。他说,中央全面深化改革领导小组不久前审议通过了《深化文化体制改革方案》,提出改革的奋斗目标是,到2020年建立充满活力、富有效率、有利于文化繁荣发展的体制机制,使中国特色社会主义文化制度更加成熟更加定型。现在距离2020年只剩下7年,时间很紧,任务很重。
刘奇葆是在3月24日至25日召开的全国文化体制改革工作会议上说这番话的。在会上,刘奇葆对习近平总书记关于文化改革发展的一系列新思想、新观点、新要求作了阐释。他说,新一轮改革大潮已经启动,迫切需要加快文化改革发展步伐,推动文化体制与其他各领域改革协同推进,推出更好更多精神文化产品。
刘奇葆指出,这些年文化体制改革取得重大进展和显著成效,随着改革的不断深入,许多深层次矛盾和问题凸显出来:有的文化单位体制改了,但运行机制还没有改到位,没有真正成为合格的市场主体,这就需要加快建立现代企业制度,完善法人治理结构;有的文化企业进入市场后,仅靠自身的力量难以生存发展,这就需要探索建立必要的扶持机制,增强文化企业自身“造血”功能和发展活力;有些方面改革关联度高,单兵推进难以深入,这就需要统筹谋划文化体制改革与其他各领域改革,统筹谋划文化体制改革各个方面、各个层次、各个要素,确保改革的系统性、整体性、协同性。
刘奇葆说,文化体制改革只有进行时,没有完成时,我们仍然在路上,任重而道远。
党的十八届三中全会提出的有关文化体制改革的要求,刘奇葆都一一作出部署。
关于完善国有文化资产管理体制,建立党委和政府监管国有文化资产的管理机构,推动实现管人管事管资产管导向相统一,刘奇葆说,这是一个难点,但不管多难,都要坚定不移向前推进。
探索实行特殊管理股制度,是针对已转制国有传媒企业提出的一项重大改革举措,目的是在股份制改造中始终保持对传媒企业的管理权。刘奇葆要求,要抓紧研究制定相关规定,明确适用范围、行使主体和配套机制,坚持试点先行、积累经验、逐步推开。
十八届三中全会提出要健全坚持正确舆论导向的体制机制,刘奇葆指出,要瞄准网络新技术新应用,积极推进报网融合、台网融合,形成一体化发展的组织结构、管理体制和传播体系,推动全媒体发展,使传统媒体和新兴媒体通过科学的融合后继续成为主流媒体。
在谈到重视和发展民族民间文化,努力建设优秀传统文化传承体系时,刘奇葆说,在全球化的大趋势下,民族的、本土的文化传统具有不可替代和复制的重要价值,同时也面临被边缘、取代、衰落甚至消亡的危险。他动情地说:“要留住我们的乡韵、记住我们的乡愁。”他要求加强民间文化的保护和发展,传承独特的风格样式,赋予新的文化内涵,使优秀民间文化活起来、传下去。要结合新型城镇化和新农村建设,大力发展有历史记忆和地域民族特色的美丽城镇、美丽乡村。
刘奇葆强调,一分部署,九分落实。要把抓落实作为推进文化体制改革工作的重点,加强组织领导和工作指导,牢牢把握文化改革发展的正确导向,做到蹄疾而步稳。文化体制改革专项小组各成员单位要按照文化体制改革实施方案和任务分工,通力协作、各负其责,形成有效工作合力。各地文化体制改革专项小组要尽快研究本地区改革的任务台账,扎实推进各项改革任务。

 

Accelerate the Promotion of Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media

Liu Qibao

Promoting the converged development of traditional media and new media is a major strategic deployment that the Party Centre made with a view to consolidating the propaganda, ideology and cultural battlefield, and expanding mainstream ideology and public opinion. General Secretary Xi Jinping has stressed that we must accelerate the converged development of traditional media and new media, permit the use of new technologies and new applications to innovate media communication methods, and occupy the commanding heights in information communication. The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress has put forward that we must integrate news media resources, and promote the converged development of traditional media and new media. We must earnestly study and comprehend the spirit of the Centre, further unite thoughts, raise our understanding, and realistically strengthen our sense of urgency, sense of responsibility and sense of mission concerning converged media development.

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Ideology Work Must Be Grasped Tightly

This Autumn Stone editorial was first published in Qiushi on 1 April.

Ideological work is extremely important work for our Party, it relates to the Party’s future fate, it relates to a long period of peace and order for the country, and it relates to the cohesion and centripetal force of the nation. We must give high regard to and realistically strengthen ideological work, we must especially grasp the leadership power, management power and discourse power tightly in our hands, we cannot let it fall to others at any moment, otherwise, we will make an irredeemable historical mistake.

The key is implementing leadership responsibilities

To do ideological work well, we must first and foremost resolve the question of leadership power. The Chinese Communist Party is the leading core of the undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Party leadership mainly is ideological, political and organizational leadership, and among these, ideological leadership has an extremely large significance for leadership over the country and society. Tightly grasping the leadership power in ideological work is a requirement for consolidating the dominant position of Marxism in the ideological area under new circumstances, and for consolidating the common ideological basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the entire people, it is a requirement for perfecting and developing the institutions of Socialism with Chinese characteristics and moving forward the modernization of the country’s governance structure and governance capacity, and it is a requirement for responding to the ideological infiltration that Western hostile forces conduct against us.

To lead means to drive and to guide. Our country’s broadest popular masses believe in and support our Party, they are willing to march with the Party, and it is crucial that our Party must stand at the forefront of the times and in the front line of the struggle, and leads the masses forward; at present, the struggle ideological area is acute and complex, and it is crucial that our Party must fly its banner clearly, sing the main melody among the hubbub of the mass of voices, and guides social thinking trends. Over the past few years, some mistaken thinking trends and undercurrents have welled up, and brought chaos to the thinking of a part of the masses. At this time, all levels’ leading Party cadres must step forward and speak, firmly propagate the Party’s theories, line, principles and policies, firmly propagate the major work deployments of the Centre, firmly propagate the Centre’s major analyses and judgments concerning circumstances, determinedly maintain a high level of consistency with the Party Centre, and persist in safeguarding the authority of the Centre. They must shout loudly at and strike hard those people who have been captured by mistaken thoughts, in order to warn them.

In recent years, a strange phenomenon appeared in the Party and in society, which is that whoever publishes positive discourse, whoever publishes discourse supporting the Party and the government, whoever denounces those discourses that attack and slander the Party and the government, is besieged, and silence often reigns in our own camp, or our voices are not loud, our support and protection for positive voices is insufficient. This sort of phenomenon merits deep reflection. If we allow this sort of phenomenon to develop, that means we abandon our leadership responsibilities, and will let leadership power fall to others. In the ideological area, we do not engage in pointless disputes, but where great questions of right and wrong are concerned, or major questions about the choice of institutional model and building value systems are concerned, we can absolutely not become inattentive, and we can certainly not give way. Leading cadres must dare to stand in the teeth of the storm and conduct struggle, they cannot take a detour around great questions of right and wrong, they cannot use “not disputes”, “no sensationalism” and “let them talk” as an excuse for their own lack of action, and they cannot do the sort of “protection of their public image” thing. On the battlefield, there are no “liberal-minded gentlemen”, in questions of great right and wrong, there are also no “liberal-minded gentlemen”. In the ideological and political struggle that relates to the future fate of the Party and the country, no leading cadre can be a bystander, they must be loyal bodyguards for the Party and the people.

To see whether or not a leading cadre is politically mature or not, or whether he can take on important responsibilities, an important aspect is to see whether he pays attention to and is good at grasping ideological work or not. The main responsible comrades in all levels’ Party Committees and all leading comrades in charge of ideological work should stand in the first line of ideological work with banners flying clearly, they are duty-bound to bear their political responsibilities. Main responsible comrades in Party Committees must take the lead in grasping ideological work, take the lead in reading the content of the major media in their localities and departments, take the lead in grasping leadership over media in their localities and departments, take the lead in criticizing mistaken viewpoints and erroneous tendencies, strengthen their analysis and judgment of major question in the ideological area and the comprehensive planning of major strategic tasks. Where leadership in ideological work is weak, resulting in grave consequences, there shall be strict accountability.

The ideological area cannot be separated from management

Something closely connected to leadership power is management power. Must the ideological area be managed? Of course it must. Thoughts are intangible, but the media that carry and disseminate thoughts, battlefields, etc., are tangible, they are a part of the social undertaking, and must naturally be managed. Marx and Engels once pointed out that: “they rule also as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age”. (Collected Works of Marx and Engels, vol. 1, p. 551). What is meant here by the “regulation” of the production and distribution of ideas, is management. In fact, in modern society, there is no area that does not require management, it is said that “without rules, there cannot be squares and circles”, management also is productive force.

The West boasts about its so-called freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but in fact, their control of ideology is severe. The true rulers of Western societies are capital-monopolist groups, those big Western media that control the wind and the waves in their own country and the international public opinion sphere, and exert the most power and influence over politics, economics, ideology and culture, are all controlled by the hand of capital-monopolist groups. Western media can hold politicians accountable, censure political parties and criticize governments, they can bring some politicians down, make some political parties lose elections, and let a government lose office, but they can absolutely not fundamentally challenge, criticize or oppose their capitalist bosses and the capitalist system. Western capital-monopolist groups use their huge wealth to hire a large batch of ideological and public opinion elites, who dress up capitalist ideology as so-called “universal values”, domestically, they conduct long-term propaganda and inculcation of the masses, they engage in ideological confinement, anything that does not conform to mainstream ideology is seen as “politically incorrect”; they draw ideological lines internationally, and spare no effort to export Western ideology globally they use Western standards to judge all events occurring in the world, what conforms to Western standards is seen as good, and what does not conformed is demonized. The United States often send soldiers abroad , creating so many humanitarian disasters! And Western media even act as information stations and tools for public opinion battles in these wars. The West regularly talks about “the free circulation of ideas”, but when have they ever earnestly introduced ideological theories and value views that are different from Western ideology? Why do many Americans have a narrow vision, and has their ignorance of the outside world reached such a shocking extent? Is it possible that it is the result of the long-term conduct of ideological blockades and policies to keep the population stupid?

Socialist ideology reflects the fundamental interests of the broadest people, and so it never conceals its own political positions and viewpoints. Where press and publications, radio and television, culture and art, social science and other such propaganda and culture departments, organs and media are concerned, where the Party’s propaganda work of ideology and culture is concerned, it means we must stress the Party nature. The principle of the Party nature is the fundamental principle of ideological work, and is the core of the question of management in the ideological sphere.

In stressing the Party nature, three matters are the most important. First, persisting in the leadership of the Party. Ideologically, persisting in the dominant position of Marxism; politically, persisting in the orientation of serving the people and serving Socialism, and maintaining a high degree of consistency with the Party Centre; organizationally, guaranteeing that all levels and all sorts of propaganda and culture organs’ leadership power is held tightly in the hands of persons loyal to the Party and the people. Second, persisting in the consistency of responsibility towards the Party and responsibility towards the People. The Party has wholeheartedly serving the people as its basic purpose, it is the most faithful representative of the people’s interest, it has no private interest of its own outside of the interest of the people, this has decided that responsibility towards the Party in propaganda and culture work is consistent with responsibility towards the people. Third, persisting in the Party’s propaganda discipline. Propaganda and culture work not only requires observance of the Constitution and the law, and submitting to administrative management by relevant State departments, but we must also observe the Party’s propaganda discipline, including all kinds of concrete work requirements, matters needing attention, etc. If we do not stress discipline, leadership power and management power will come to nothing.

Now, the influence of the Internet is growing ever larger. Letting the Internet be a relatively open and free public opinion environment, and letting it become a supplement to mainstream public opinion battlefields basically should be beneficial and constructive. But online rumours spread widely, chaotic phenomena of online rights infringement appear in quick succession, online negative speculation causes temporary uproars, making cyberspace become foul and chaotic, gravely harming this sort of constructivity, will it do not to manage this? Putting chaotic online phenomena in order according to the law and cleaning up cyberspace relate to the struggle in the ideological sphere, relate to the consolidation and expansion of mainstream ideology and public opinion, relate to the bigger picture of national reform, development and stability, and are great matters that must be handled well.

The management in the ideological sphere has its complexities and peculiarities. With regard to the masses’ proper, reasonable and well-intentioned criticism and supervision, regardless of how sharp it is, we welcome it, we must never be unhappy, and can certainly not suppress it; we must not only welcome it, but must also earnestly listen and realistically improve. With regard to academic questions, we should promote democracy, equal discussion, persuade people with reason, ensure that there are no forbidden zones in research, and there is discipline in propaganda. With regard to questions of ideological understanding, we should state the facts clearly, stress reason, strengthen positive propaganda, and guide matters in a focused manner. With regard to major political principles and great questions of right and wrong, on what to support and what to oppose, we must fly our banners clearly and have firm attitudes. The Party must manage the media, manage the orientation, manage teams and manage cadres, strengthen the responsibilities of controlling and sponsoring departments as well as localized management, and let mainstream ideology and public opinion firmly occupy ideological battlefields.

Winning the power of initiative with discourse power

To do ideological work well, discourse power is also of the utmost importance. We ourselves are incessantly summarizing China’s development path, but there are also people who have made other interpretations and evaluations, furthermore, they do their utmost to vie with our Party for discourse power and influence. In the past few years, the ideological and theoretical sphere has been lively, and some problems have led to great disputes. Having disputes is not a bad thing, the truth will always become clearer through more debate, the important matter is that discourse power must be firmly grasped.

Now, the achievements that China has gained in economic and social development are affirmed internationally for the most part, leaders of various countries will express admiration when they meet with the leaders of our country. At the same time, there are also an increasing number of people who begin to affirm the governance structure and governance capacity of our country, and this is exactly what is most taboo to the West. When the New China had just been founded, there were people in the West who prophesied that the Chinese Communist Party could do a revolution, but that it could not do construction, they looked upon us with ridicule. After reform and opening up, our country’s economy started to develop rapidly, and there were some people around the world who again made snide remarks, when we did well, there was the “China threat theory”, when we ran into difficulties, there was the “China collapse theory”, they never were not in our ears. In thirty years, we have undergone many storms and waves, but we have not only endured all of them, we have also developed even better after the storms and waves passed, in incessant clear contrast with the situation of chaos in a number of countries worldwide. Practice demonstrates that our country marches a successful development path that is different from the Western countries, we have formed a set of successful institutions and systems that is different from Western countries. We use facts to declare the bankruptcy of the “end of history theory”, and to declare the bankruptcy of the one-way view of history in which all countries in the end must converge to Western institutional models.

Furthermore, where in the world are there “universal values” and “ultimate models” that are applicable everywhere? Some people underestimated the superiority, resilience, vitality and potential of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, or they did see this and know it tacitly, but because of ideological reasons, they would stubbornly refuse to admit this verbally. The West’s arguments about freedom, democracy and human rights are the most typical stereotyped expression, they have talked about this stuff for two hundred years, and are still talking about it, they still have these concepts and these excuses, they are unable to talk about some new things, they just rely on that stuff that has been repeated for two hundred years to monopolize the international discourse power.

What merits vigilance is that, under the influence of Western hostile discourse and mistaken thinking trends, deviations have also emerged in the understanding of some people domestically, they blindly turn with the wind, and consciously or unconsciously criticize events occurring in our country with Western ideology and institutional models and standards. The huge achievements of reform and opening up, the successes gained in responding to major natural disasters, etc., are clearly successes obtained by our Party leading the people in marching the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, they have clearly manifested the superiority of China’s institutions, but it is said that these are the fulfilment of “universal values”, that they are “universal” and not “particular”; it is believed to be normal that the same social problems and social phenomena, such as incidents of mass resistance, etc., occur in Western countries, and even that they are reflections of freedom, democracy and human rights, but if they occur in China, it is said that they are created by “institutional abuses”, they are the manifestation of a so-called “social crisis”, some people even impute the smog to the system; some people cannot see the fact that in the present world, “China’s landscape is beyond compare” in the present world, but they are anxious about China’s prospects, and believe that China will only have a way out if it implements Western “constitutional democracy”. How deluded and ignorant this is!

Whether or not a shoe fits, one only knows when putting it on. On whether or not China’s development path is correct, only the Chinese people themselves have the most right to speak. With China’s population of 1.3 billion and 56 ethnicities, and its territory of 9.6 million square kilometres, whose model can be followed? The problem is that since reform and opening up, we have done remarkably well and been very successful in practice, but we have not been sufficiently forceful in summarizing research, propagation and elucidation, what is said is not as good as what has been done. What is truly a influential, cohesive force among the broad masses is the elucidation of patriotism and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the nation, but this is insufficient. We must persist in and develop Socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must build a discourse system that has Chinese characteristics, Chinese styles and Chinese airs, which is strongly influential, persuasive and cohesive, strive to forge new concepts, new categories and new expressions that circulate in China and abroad, use them to elucidate China’s basic national conditions, value concepts, development path, and domestic and foreign policies, shape a “mass discussion” on the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, shape a “Chinese discussion” on Socialist ideology, and thereby consolidate a common ideological basis of the united struggle of the Party and the people, and gain the power of initiative in the ideological struggle.

意识形态工作要紧紧抓在手上

意识形态工作是我们党的一项极端重要的工作,事关党的前途命运,事关国家长治久安,事关民族凝聚力和向心力。我们必须高度重视和切实加强意识形态工作,尤其要把意识形态工作的领导权、管理权、话语权紧紧抓在手上,任何时候都不能旁落,否则就要犯无可挽回的历史性错误。
关键是落实领导责任
做好意识形态工作,首先要解决领导权问题。中国共产党是中国特色社会主义事业的领导核心。党的领导,主要是思想、政治和组织领导,其中思想领导对于实现党对国家和社会的领导具有极大意义。牢牢掌握意识形态工作的领导权,是新形势下巩固马克思主义在意识形态领域的指导地位、巩固全党全国人民团结奋斗的共同思想基础的要求,是完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度、推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的要求,也是应对西方敌对势力对我进行意识形态渗透的要求。
领导,就是要领之导之。我国最广大的人民群众是相信和支持我们党的,是愿意跟党走的,关键是我们党要站在时代前列、斗争前沿,带领群众前进;当前意识形态领域斗争尖锐复杂,关键是我们党要亮明自己的旗帜,在众声喧哗中唱响主旋律,引导社会思潮。这些年,一些错误思潮暗流涌动,把部分群众的思想搞乱了。这个时候,党的各级领导干部必须站出来说话,坚定宣传党的理论和路线方针政策,坚定宣传中央重大工作部署,坚定宣传中央关于形势的重大分析判断,坚决同党中央保持高度一致,坚决维护中央权威。对那些做了错误思想俘虏的人,就是要大喝一声,猛击一掌,使之警醒。
近年来,党内和社会上出现了一种怪现象,就是谁发表正面的言论,谁发表支持党和政府的言论,谁驳斥那些攻击、污蔑党和政府的言论,谁就会受到围攻,而我们自己阵营常常是鸦雀无声或者声音不大,对正面声音支持保护不够。这种现象很值得深思。如果听任这种现象发展,那就是放弃领导责任,就是让领导权旁落。在意识形态领域,我们不搞无谓争论,但牵涉到大是大非问题,牵涉到制度模式选择、价值体系建设等重大问题,决不能左顾右盼,更不能退避三舍。领导干部要敢于站在风口浪尖进行斗争,不能对大是大非问题绕着走,不能用“不争论”、“不炒热”、“让说话”为自己的不作为开脱,不能搞“爱惜羽毛”那一套。战场上没有“开明绅士”,在大是大非问题上也没有“开明绅士”。在事关党和国家前途命运的思想政治斗争中,所有领导干部都不能作旁观者,而要作党和人民的忠诚卫士。
看一个领导干部政治上是否成熟、能否担当重任,一个重要方面就是看他重不重视、善不善于抓意识形态工作。各级党委主要负责同志和分管意识形态工作的领导同志,应该旗帜鲜明站在意识形态工作第一线,责无旁贷承担起政治责任。党委主要负责同志要带头抓意识形态工作,带头阅看本地区本部门主要媒体的内容,带头把握本地区本部门媒体的导向,带头批评错误观点和错误倾向,加强对意识形态领域重大问题的分析研判和重大战略性任务的统筹指导。对意识形态工作领导不力、造成严重后果的,应当严肃问责。
意识形态领域离不开管理
与领导权紧密关联的是管理权。意识形态领域要不要管理?当然要。思想无形,但承载和传播思想的媒体、阵地等等是有形的,是社会事业的一部分,当然需要管理。马克思恩格斯曾指出:“作为思想的生产者进行统治,他们调节着自己时代的思想的生产和分配”。(《马克思恩格斯文集》第1卷第551页)这里所说的对思想的生产和分配进行“调节”,就是管理。其实,现代社会,没有哪个领域不需要管理,所谓“没有规矩,不成方圆”,管理也是生产力。
西方标榜所谓言论自由、新闻自由,其实他们对意识形态的管制是很厉害的。西方社会真正的统治者是垄断资本集团,那些在本国及国际舆论场上呼风唤雨,对政治、经济和思想文化施加着巨大影响的最有权势的西方大媒体,都掌控在垄断资本集团手中。西方媒体可以问责政客、指摘政党、批评政府,可以让某位政客落马、某个政党败选、某届政府下台,但它们绝对不会从根本上去质疑、批评、反对资本家老板和资本主义制度。西方垄断资本集团重金雇佣大批思想舆论精英,把资本主义意识形态包装成所谓“普世价值”,在国内向民众长期宣传灌输,搞意识形态禁锢,凡不符合主流意识形态的就被视为“政治不正确”;在国际上按意识形态划线,不遗余力向世界输出西方意识形态,用西方标准评判世界上发生的一切事情,符合西方标准的就被视为好的,不符合的就加以妖魔化。美国打着自由民主的旗号频繁对外用兵,制造了多少人道主义灾难!而西方媒体在这些战争中甚至充当了信息战、舆论战的工具。西方经常讲“思想的自由流动”,可是他们何曾认真地介绍过不同于西方意识形态的别的思想理论和价值观?为什么很多美国人眼界狭窄,对外部世界的无知到了令人吃惊的程度?难道不是长期实行思想封锁、愚民政策的结果吗?
社会主义意识形态反映的是最广大人民的根本利益,所以从来不隐瞒自己的政治立场和观点。对于新闻出版、广播电视、文化艺术、社会科学等宣传文化部门、机构和媒体来说,对于党的宣传思想文化工作者来说,就是要讲党性。党性原则是意识形态工作的根本原则,也是意识形态领域管理问题的核心。
讲党性,有三条最重要。一是坚持党的领导。思想上,坚持马克思主义的指导地位;政治上,坚持为人民服务、为社会主义服务的方向,同党中央保持高度一致;组织上,确保各级各类宣传文化机构的领导权掌握在忠于党和人民的人手里。二是坚持对党负责和对人民负责的一致性。党以全心全意为人民服务为根本宗旨,是人民利益最忠实的代表者,除了人民的利益没有自己的私利,这就决定了宣传文化工作对党负责和对人民负责是一致的。三是坚持党的宣传纪律。宣传文化工作不仅要遵守宪法、法律,服从国家有关部门的行政管理,而且必须遵守党的宣传纪律,包括各种具体工作要求、注意事项等。不讲纪律,领导权、管理权都会落空。
现在,互联网的影响越来越大。让互联网有一个相对开放自由的舆论环境,作为对主流舆论阵地的一种补充,本该是有益的、建设性的。但网络谣言大行其道、网络侵权乱象纷呈、网上负面炒作甚嚣尘上,使网络空间变得污浊混乱,严重损害了这种建设性,不管行吗?依法治理网络乱象,让网络空间清朗起来,关系意识形态领域斗争,关系巩固壮大主流思想舆论,关系国家改革发展稳定大局,是一件必须办好的大事。
意识形态领域的管理有其复杂性、特殊性。对群众正常、合理、善意的批评和监督,不管多么尖锐,我们都欢迎,都不要不高兴,更不能压制;不仅要欢迎,而且要认真听取、切实改正。对学术问题,应该发扬民主,平等讨论,以理服人,做到研究无禁区、宣传有纪律。对思想认识问题,应该摆事实、讲道理,加强正面宣传,有针对性地加以引导。对重大政治原则和大是大非问题,支持什么、反对什么,必须旗帜鲜明、态度坚定。党要管媒体、管导向、管队伍、管干部,强化主管主办和属地管理职责,让主流思想舆论牢牢占领意识形态阵地。
以话语权赢得主动权
做好意识形态工作,话语权也至关紧要。对中国的发展道路,我们自己在不断总结,但也有人作出别样的解读和评说,并且竭力同我们党争夺话语权和影响力。这些年,思想理论领域很热闹,有些问题引起很大争论。有争论并不是坏事,真理总是越辩越明,重要的是必须牢牢掌握话语权。
现在,国际上对中国取得的经济社会发展成就大都是肯定的,各国领导人在与我国领导人见面时都会对我国发展成就表示钦佩。同时,也有越来越多的人开始肯定我们国家的治理体系和治理能力,而这恰恰是西方最忌讳讲的。新中国刚成立的时候,西方就有人预言,中国共产党搞革命还行,搞建设不行,等着看我们的笑话。改革开放以后,我国经济迅速发展起来了,世界上又有人说风凉话,搞得好就是“中国威胁论”,遇到困难就是“中国崩溃论”,一直不绝于耳。30多年来,我们经历了多少风浪,不仅都挺过来了,而且每场风雨过后都发展得更好,同世界上一些国家乱局不断形成了鲜明对照。实践证明,我国走出来一条不同于西方国家的成功发展道路,形成了一套不同于西方国家的成功制度体系。我们用事实宣告了“历史终结论”的破产,宣告了各国最终都要以西方制度模式为归宿的单线式历史观的破产。
其实,世界上哪有什么放之四海而皆准的“普世价值”、“终极模式”?有些人低估了中国特色社会主义制度的优势、韧性、活力和潜能,或者是也看到了,心知肚明,但出于意识形态原因,口头上就是死不认账。西方对自由、民主、人权的演绎是最典型的套话,他们讲那一套讲了一二百年,现在还在讲,还是那些概念、那套说辞,讲不出什么新东西,就是凭借着重复了一二百年的那些套话垄断了国际话语权。
值得警惕的是,在西方强势话语和错误思潮影响下,国内一些人的认识也发生了偏差,盲目跟风,对我国发生的事情自觉不自觉地以西方意识形态和制度模式为标准来评判。改革开放的巨大成就,应对重大自然灾害取得的胜利等,明明是我们党带领人民走中国特色社会主义道路取得的成功,分明彰显了中国的制度优势,却被说成是“普世价值”的兑现,在“普”不在“特”;同样的社会问题、社会现象,如群体性抗议事件等,发生在西方国家就被认为是正常的,甚至是自由、民主、人权的体现,发生在中国就被说成是“体制弊端”造成的,是所谓“社会危机”的表现,有人甚至把雾霾也归咎于体制;有些人看不到当今世界上中国“风景这边独好”的事实,却在为中国的前途忧心忡忡,认为中国只有实行西方“宪政民主”才有出路。这是怎样的迷思与蒙昧!
鞋子合不合脚,自己穿了才知道。中国的发展道路对不对,中国人自己才最有发言权。中国13亿多人口、56个民族、960万平方公里土地,能照谁的模式办?问题在于,改革开放以来我们在实践中干得很漂亮、很成功,但在总结研究、宣传阐释上却不够给力,说的不如干的。真正在广大民众中有影响力凝聚力的是爱国主义、民族复兴中国梦的论述,但这是不够的。我们要坚持和发展中国特色社会主义,必须构建起具有中国特色、中国风格、中国气派,具有强大吸引力、说服力、凝聚力的话语体系,着力打造融通中外的新概念、新范畴、新表述,用以解读中国的基本国情、价值理念、发展道路、内外政策,形成中国特色社会主义理论体系的“大众论述”,形成社会主义意识形态的“中国论述”,从而巩固党和人民团结奋斗的共同思想基础,赢得意识形态斗争的主动权。

 

 

Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group: Names and Documents

Following the establishment of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, the independent website Guancha.cn circulated a name list of the group’s members and the institutions they represent. In total, the group reportedly has 22 members. The first three of these had been announced by Xinhua: the Group is chaired by Xi Jinping, with Premier Li Keqiang and Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan as vice-chairs. These are joined by 8 other Politburo members and senior leaders: Ma Kai (Vice-Premier), Wang Huning (Central Policy Research Office Director), Liu Qibao (Central Propaganda Committee Director), Fan Changlong (Central Military Commission, Vice-Director), Meng Jianzhu (Central Political-Legal Committee Secretary), Li Zhanshu (Central Committee General Office Director), Yang Jing (Central Secretariat, Secretary) and Zhou Xiaochuan (Vice-Chair of the CPPCC and Governor of the People’s Bank of China). With the exception of Yang Jing, all of these are also members of the new Central Leading Group of the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform. Furthermore, the group contains 11 ministarial-level officials, representing the State bureaucracies involved with informatization and cybersecurity. They include Lu Wei (SCIO Vice-Director and SIIO Director) who will also be in charge of the Leading Group’s Office, Guo Shengkun (Minister of Public Security), Fang Fenghui (Chief of the General Staff), Wang Yi (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Xu Shaoshi (NDRC, Director), Yuan Guiren (Minister of Education), Wang Zhigang (Ministry of Science and Technology, Party Secretary), Lou Jiwei (Minister of Finance), Miao Wei (Minister of Industry and Information Technology), Cai Wu (Minister of Culture) and Cai Fuchao (State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television,Director).

This new leading group largely merges the membership of the previous two leading bodies for online governance, the State Informatization Leading Group (SILG) and the State Network and Information Security Coordination Small Group (SNISCSG). One interesting addition is the governor of the central bank, who had hitherto not been involved in cybergovernance matters. It passed a work plan for 2014 at its first meeting, was well as internal rules for its functioning. None of these documents has been made public so far, but Guancha indicates that broad policy pronouncements can be expected in the wake of the plenary meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Political Consultative Conference, which ended today and yesterday respectively.

Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Informatization Established

On Thursday, the establishment of a new Central Committee leading group for Internet and information technology matters, the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization was announced. The group is chaired by Xi Jinping, with Premier Li Keqiang and the ex-head of the Central Propaganda Department, Liu Yunshan as vice directors.

According to a Xinhua analysis, this move reflects the Centre’s determination at the highest levels of Chinese politics do deepen reform and strengthen top-level design, as well as to protect national security, safeguard national interests and promote the development of information technology. 20 years after the arrival of the Internet in China, there are now more than 600 million users, more than 80% of which use mobile technology; furthermore, there are 18.44 million domestic domain names and nearly 4 million websites, three of which are among the ten largest Internet sites in the world. 300 million netizens shop online, and the total scale of e-commerce exceeds 10 trillion Yuan. Conversely, in Xinhua’s view, this scale does not translate in strength. There is a lack of indigenous information, a great urban-rural digital divide and low levels of broadband connectivity. Furthermore, it claims that China is the main victim of online attacks, with Trojans and botnets controlling nearly 900.000 host IPs, and regular infringement of personal privacy and citizens’ lawful rights and interests. In terms of governance, Xinhua argues that for historical reasons, administrative management power over the Internet has been fragmented, a problem earmarked for resolution at last year’s 3rd Plenum. Furthermore, other measures have been taken to expand control over online security and informatization, including measures to broaden domestic demand.

In Xinhua’s view, various countries have taken initiatives to strengthen Internet security and top-level design. It indicates that more than 40 countries have published cybersecurity strategies, while the United States has published more than 40 documents concerning cybersecurity and set up a cybersecurity office within the White House. Germany and France are seen to discuss the establishment of an independent European Internet in order to avoid U.S. interference and protect data security, while a new data protection bill lies in front of EU lawmakers. Japan and India have also published cybersecurity strategies in 2013. It follows that the establishment of a national cybersecurity structure is a necessary move by the Chinese leadership.

From Xi Jinping’s speech (excerpts translated hereunder), it seems that this new leading group will have comprehensive powers over the entire online sector, including economic, political, cultural, social and military matters, and it can be expected that it will start formulating strategies and policy objectives relatively soon. Xinhua expects particular moves to be made in formulating development plans for information and network technology research, development and industrialization, structures combining military and civil structures, even stronger online information content management rules, regulations to protect core information infrastructure, etc. There will also be increasing support for professional training programmes.

According to an article published in the Overseas Edition of the People’s Daily, Internet governance is taking a clear turn for the better. While in the past, online rumours and online crime had proliferated, the recent crackdown on Internet and social media, the judicial interpretation on online content, and the recent plans for cyberspace reform are creating a new, sophisticated governance structure with a range of tools to control cyberspace. Furthermore, it claims that Internet security has become inseparable from national security, particularly mentioning the PRISM programme as one of the reasons for China’s concerns.

The general tone of the press releases mirrors earlier evolutions in fields including innovation and culture, where China is moving from a position that it defines from “large” to “strong”. In international terms, this means that it will most likely try to weigh more heavily on international Internet governance and the development of bilateral and multilateral protocols for particular areas, such as data protection. It may aim to enhance its control of the Internet infrastructure, including the construction of more root servers. Conversely, it may look to attenuate its reliance on foreign hardware and software suppliers, and substitute them with home grown products.

Xinhua also published some excerpts from Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening ceremony:

In his speech, Xi Jinping pointed out that in the present world, in which the information technology revolution changes every day, which profoundly influences developments in international political, economic, cultural, social, military and other areas. Informatization and economic globalization mutually stimulate each other, the Internet has already penetrated into every aspect of social life, and profoundly changed the people’s ways of production and life. Our country is in the middle of this great wave, and the influence it experiences grows ever deeper. Our country’s Internet and informatization work has seen remarkable development achievements, the network has marched into millions of households, it is the global number one in terms of netizen numbers, our country has become a large cyber country. At the same time, we must also consider that we are considerably backward in the area of indigenous innovation, there are relatively clear discrepancies between regions, and between urban and rural areas, and especially the difference with international advanced levels of per capita broadband is relatively large, domestic Internet development bottlenecks remain relatively prominent.

Xi Jinping stressed that cybersecurity and informatization can affect the whole situation in many areas of one country with one slight move, we must clearly understand the circumstances and tasks that we face, fully understand the importance and urgency of doing work well, plan matters according to trends, move in response to trends, and act in line with trends. Cybersecurity and informatization are two wings of one bird, two wheels of one cart, we must uniformly plan, uniformly deploy, uniformly move forward, and uniformly implement matters. To do cybersecurity and informatization work well, we must deal well with the relationship between security and development, ensure coordination and consistency, move forward across the board, protect development with security, stimulate security with development, strive to build a long trend of peace and order.

Xi Jinping pointed out that doing public opinion work well is a long-term task, we must innovate and improve online propaganda, use the laws of network dissemination, carry the main melody forward, arouse positive energy, forcefully foster and practice the Socialist core value system, grasp the timing, degree and effect of online public opinion guidance, and ensure that cyberspace becomes clean and crisp.

Xi Jinping stressed that network information circulates across national borders, information flows guide technology flows, finance flows and talent flows, information resources become more important production factors and social assets every day, the amount of information control has become an important symbol for national soft power and competitiveness. The extent of information technology and industry development decide the level of informatization development, we must strengthen indigenous innovation of core technologies and the construction of infrastructure, increase capacity for information collection, processing, dissemination, use and security, and extend them to the people’s livelihoods even better.

Xi Jinping pointed out that without cybersecurity, there is no national security, and without informatization, there is no modernization. To build a strong cyber country, we must have our own technology and have technology that is up to scratch; we must have rich and complete information services, and a flourishing and developing online culture; we must have a good information infrastructure, and shape a powerful and solid information economy; we must have high-quality cybersecurity and informatization talent teams; we must vigorously launch bilateral and multilateral international cooperation and exchange concerning the Internet. The strategic deployment of building a strong cyber country must be moved forward in step with the “Two Centuries” struggle objective, and incessantly progress in the direction of the objectives of the fundamental dissemination of network infrastructure, a clear strengthening of indigenous innovation capacity, the comprehensive development of the information economy, and powerful cybersecurity protection.

Xi Jinping stressed that we must formulate complete information technology and network technology research and development plans, and spend great efforts to resolve the problem of transforming the fruits of scientific research. We must roll out policies to support enterprise development, let them become new pillars for technological innovation, and become the mainstays of information industry development. We must grasp the formulation of legislative plans, perfect laws and regulations on Internet information content management and crucial information infrastructure, etc., govern cyberspace according to the law, and safeguard citizens’ lawful rights and interests.

Xi Jinping stressed that to build a strong cyber country, we must concentrate talent resources, and build a line of formidable teams that are strong politically, excellent professionally, and have a good work style. “A thousand troops are easy to raise, one general is hard to find”, we must foster and train word-class scientists, pioneering network technology talents, brilliant engineers, and high-level innovation teams.

Xi Jinping stressed that the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization must play a concentrated and uniform leadership role, comprehensively coordinate major issues in all areas of cybersecurity and informatization, formulate and implement national cybersecurity and informatization development strategies, macro-level plans and major policies, and incessantly strengthen capacity for security protection.

Minister of Culture: Deepen cultural structural reform (again)

This article by Minister of Culture Cai Wu was published in Seeking Truth on 16 January. In this article, Cai Wu rehashes a number of standard measures for cultural structural reform that have been touted for years, with varying degrees of success. In general, they can be reduced to one central observation: that cultural structural reform is greatly concerned with the forms and trappings of a successful cultural industry, and not with the essence: the creation of cultural goods and services that actually meet with market success. In this article, as in many policy documents in the past, much attention is given to the creation of particular financial products, trading platforms, cultural infrastructure, administrative streamlining and the training of specialist personnel. It does not mention, however, the stifling creative environment in which Chinese artists, writers and filmmakers live. Also, this article returns to the theme of national cultural soft power, by which the cultural administration hopes to enhance China’s image abroad. It suffices here to say that, however many efforts are made to foster China’s “discourse power”, the national image will continue to suffer from matters ranging from the recent Xu Zhiyong case to pollution and its stance in the East and South China Seas. The important bit in the article, as always, are the first few paragraphs, which frame the proposed measures in terms of the political line set at the recent 3rd Plenum and the follow-up meetings. In other words, it is the political signalling (biaotai ) that counts here, not the substance. Continue reading

New Paper: The Privilege of Speech and New Media

Even though Article 35 of the Chinese Constitution theoretically guarantees the freedom of speech and of the press, it is a well-known fact that in reality, speech in China can be very costly indeed. In the massive body of laws and regulations promulgated in the area of culture after 1979, there are ample provisions imposing severe punishment for many speech or press-related activities, while few provisions protect expression against State. The majority of rules governing expression only permit specific actors to engage in specific activities within a specific scope, on a conditional basis. In other words, Chinese communications law aims to harness particular forms of speech in order to pursue specific objectives, and delegitimize other forms. Speech, therefore, is not a right but a privilege; it is not an entitlement granted on the basis of equality before the law and pluralist philosophy, but a power granted on the basis of particularity and monism. Until recently, this structure was buttressed a regulatory model that fragmented communication flows in an environment with a relatively small and manageable number of players. The advent of the Internet has upset this pattern. Now, the Party is confronted with the fact that hundreds of millions of individual citizens have gained easy access to tools of communication that allow them to publish information and organize in ways that had been nearly impossible earlier. This has fuelled a wave of new legislation, regulation and institution-building at different levels and across different sectors, aimed at imposing new means of control, against the background of continued political imperatives of stability and development, in order to preserve the privileged speech model.

This paper surveys and conceptualises these legal evolutions in the light of evolving political, social and technological contexts. First, it provides a brief outline of Chinese media regulation as it had been constructed in the Nineties, and develops the concept of privileged speech. Second, it maps and analyses the different initiatives that have been taken by the Party leadership with regards to Internet communication, against the background of technological, commercial and social evolutions that changed the political imperatives that form the context for Party leadership. Third, it outlines how recent evolutions in the pattern of communications regulations are connected with broader questions of political reform in China.

The full paper can be downloaded on SSRN.