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!




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.













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.

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。


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.





Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group: Names and Documents

Following the establishment of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, the independent website 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.

Party Centre publishes new promotion and appointment criteria for senior officials.

On 15 January, the People’s Daily published a revised version of the “Work Regulations for the Promotion and Appointment of Leading and Party Government Cadres”, dating from 2002. This document provides the specific norms required for appointment to senior positions in the government and the CCP. A translation is underway and will be posted on this website in due course. According to an explanatory article, also in the People’s Daily, there are ten major updates from the previous version:

First, the document now requires that leading cadres must “put virtue first” if they wish to rise in rank. According to the People’s Daily, this stems from drive developing in recent years to ensure that cadres combine ability with integrity. It refers to a document that the Central Organization Department published in 2011, the “Opinions concerning Strengthening Assessment of Cadres’ Virtue” (a full background website on this topic is available via the Party magazine Seeking Truth, in Chinese). The PD also quotes Tsinghua University professor Cheng Wenhao, who heads a research centre on clean government, who states that public officials can only serve society and benefit the people if they have sufficient moral integrity, and that lack of integrity would bring ruin to society.

Second, changes will be made to the cadre evaluation structures. These will come to include indicators connected to people’s livelihoods, including employment, income, technological innovation, education, healthcare and social security, on top of factors that had been stressed before, such as social harmony, economic development, environmental preservation, etc. According to professor Zhu Lijia of the National School of Administration, cited by the PD, this would change the trend to “only look at GDP”, and implement the policies set out at the third plenum.

Third, detailed provisions are made limiting the range of candidates who are eligible for assessment. Persons who are not subject to assessment, cannot be promoted or appointed to higher positions. Specifically, this affects cadres under the following circumstances (1) not being generally recognized by the masses, (2) not being evaluated well enough in annual examinations, (3) “running around for titles” or canvassing votes,  (4) having a spouse migrating abroad or, if not having a spouse, having children migrating abroad, (5) having been subject to administrative or disciplinary punishment and (6) other reasons.

Fourth, there will be additional procedures for candidates undergoing assessment. More specifically, Party organization bodies must obtain information from discipline supervision bodies concerning candidates’ corruption situation. Also, auditing departments must provide input on candidates for positions with economic responsibilities.

Fifth, a clause is added to the list of criteria for promotion eligibility, which requires that candidates conform to the qualifications of relevant laws and regulations. According to Cheng Wenhao, this allows for more specific rules for appointments in specific departments or regions where this is necessary.

Sixth, the scope for open appointments and competitive selections is defined. According to the People’s Daily, a number of regions had started to use these methods to avoid domination by “number one leaders” (yibashou 一把手) and backroom politics. The 2002 rules only stated that open appointments were to be carried out facing society, and competitive elections were internal to specific work units or systems. The new regulations provide further details, by allowing for open appointments in cases where a particular locality or department cannot find suitable candidates internally and competitive selections might be conducted in circumstances where many candidates vie for the same position, and consensus cannot easily be found. Furthermore, the new rules stipulate that  open appointments and competitive selections must survey and measure the process according to scientific standards, give prominence to the characteristics of the position, give prominence to prominent achievement, and stress the combination of ability and personal qualities, so that persons are not merely selected on the basis of grades and marks. Lastly, open appointments for county-level or lower officials should not be carried out across provinces. According to Cheng Wenhao, this last point might originate from the fact that this would bring organizational difficulties, as well as from the fact that it might be better for grass roots officials to have local experience.

Seventh, the conditions for removing cadres from their position are updated. On the one hand, three new conditions are implemented: (1) being subject to an investigation for liability, (2) resignation or transfer to a different position; or leaving a position for study for more than a year, if that has not been arranged organizationally. One condition has been deleted, not passing the annual evaluation or the cadre assessment, being found unqualified by more than one third of votes in a democratic survey, and being found unqualified by the organizational department. The reason for the latter, according to a vice-director of a county organization department in Jiangsu cited by the PD, is that these requirements were too easy to manipulate. Claiming that no completely scientific and reasonable method to evaluate cadres has been developed anywhere in the world, he stated that there were problems with the extent to which democratic surveys were truthful and scientific in nature, with the fact that it was difficult to evaluate different kinds of officials in different places, which meant that the previous rules did not result in the effects hoped for.

Eighth, with regards to term limits, the new rules provide that officials who have held the same position for two terms of office, can no longer be recommended or nominated for the same position. Furthermore,  the new rules stipulate that young cadres with few diverse experiences, or who lack experience in working at the grass roots, should be sent to work at the grass roots, poor and remote regions or complex and environments.

Ninth, cadres who “take the blame and resign” (yinjiucizhi 引咎辞职) cannot hold positions for a year, and may not hold a positions that are higher than their previous position for two years. That period can be lengthened for those also subject to Party discipline punishment, in view of the circumstances. Furthermore, organizational punishment has become an explicit ground for demotion.

Tenth, with regard to cases of neglect of supervisory duty or malpractices in the appointment process where grave consequences result, the new rules explicitly impose responsibility on the main leading members of the Party Committee involved, relevant leading persons, relevant leading members the organization department and the discipline supervision committee involved, as well as other responsible persons.

These rules mark another step in the continuing efforts of the leadership to bring lower-level officials into line and curb incentives for corruption. Some of the new initiatives are not new, the push towards stronger moral requirements on senior officials had been initiated under the previous leadership. However, what merits attention is that these rules send another strong signal that Xi’s assertion of strict discipline, as well as his repeated taking aim at abuses and malpractices are no mere rhetoric. He is, literally, rewriting the rules.

Update: another take by the always excellent Chris Buckley can be found here.

Justice and fairness with Chinese characteristics: Seeking Truth on the rule of law

Another New Year, another article calling for the implementation of the Constitution and the law in China. But in contrast with last year, this article isn’t published in Southern Weekend, Yanhuang Chunqiu or other outlets known for their political outspokenness, but in the Party’s chief theoretical journal, Seeking Truth. It is written by Chen Jiping, the Party Secretary and Vice-Chairman of the Law Society of China, one of the many front organisations under the leadership of the Party that are used to connect different areas of society, including the professions, to the policymaking and implementation process. Chen summarises a number of speeches that Xi Jinping has made since his accession in late 2012 in the field of law, and identifies four central focus form for further legal reform towards a “rule of law China” (法治中国).

First, Chen argues that, in order to foster rule of law in China, a belief in the rule of law must be fostered among the people. In other words, Chinese citizens must identify with and internalise the notion of the rule of law. This, in turn, must be based on practicing the rule of law by judicial and other law enforcement bodies. Second, Chen discusses the problems in law enforcement. He takes aim at favouritism and corruption that takes place within law enforcement bodies, and stresses that laws must be strictly enforced, particularly in the administrative area. Third, Chen proposes a larger role for the people in legal processes, both in legislation and enforcement. He links judicial reform with the “Fengxiao experience” and the current Mass Line campaign, stressing that increased popular participation and a stronger focus on popular satisfaction are necessary. Lastly, Chen calls upon leading cadres at all levels to support the rule of law, vituperating against privilege and corruption.

These arguments sound admirable, but contain many points that have been repeatedly made by observers inside and outside of China in the past. In its ideological perfectionism and its tradition of avoiding public disagreements about policy, Chinese policy programmes often read like the Santa Claus list of a materialist five-year old: it wants it all. It does not choose or prioritiseneither does it clearly outline trade-offs that are inevitable in political and legal decision making. Everyone must be satisfied, therefore everything must be done. There are, however, intractable tensions between ideas and concepts that are central to the notion of the rule of law on the one hand and the current structuring of China’s political structure on the other. These tensions, if anything, are exacerbated under Xi’s new approach exacerbate.

It is, of course, quite difficult to explain exactly what the rule of law is, and it is often best recognised in its absence. But it is possible to point at a number of ideas which could conceivably constitute the concept, and a fundamental assumption should be that, in principle, the law on the books should be applied. Naturally, some discretion and leeway is necessary in view of specific facts in particular cases, and there are always questions about interpretation of particular provisions, but even so, it remains possible to draw some sort of boundary between decisions or outcomes that can be justifiably seen as an acceptable interpretation of the law, and instances of clear abuse. To a certain degree, this means that the rule of law implies a reduction of political control and capacity to shape events, as potential outcomes are constrained by mandatory procedures. In Party ideology, however, law is justified through its outcomes: laws and their application must make people happy, support modernisation and development policy, and ensure that no violation of law occurs. Equally, it must be flexible enough for creative use in maintaining continued Party rule. It seems that there is a paradox, therefore, between a process which arrives at (politically) indeterminate outcomes through predetermined procedure, and a political tradition in which procedures are often applied ex post, to justify a political conclusion that has already been reached. Also, law can impose obligations, such as the obligation to resign when ministerial responsibility requires so. In a system where personnel appointments are, however, more the result of continuous jostling and negotiations, and where you lose if you’re not winning, such obligations would mean an utter reversal of practice and custom.

A second pillar of the rule of law is the publicity of legal norms. It is perhaps needless to say that for people to obey the law, or base their actions on it, they must know what the law is. This question, which norms are applicable to a particular situation, is governed by what HLA Hart called rules of recognition. These rules identify what counts as law within a given system, and can, in Hart’s view, be discovered through the practice of legal officials. When we turn to the Chinese legal structure, we see that there is no lack of written rules of recognition, starting with the statement in the Constitution that it is the highest norm for behaviour. In reality, however, it is clear that outcomes are governed as much, if perhaps not more, by unwritten rules, the qian guize 潜规则. These tacit codes are sometimes connected to Party discipline (and the tension between Party discipline and State law deserves a monograph of itself), but equally often to what insiders in the system can get away with before unpleasant things happen to them. It sounds almost Daoist: the rule that says it’s the rule, is not the rule.

A last aspect of the rule of law is the relationship that law has with society, and how the presence and enforcement of certain rules can fulfil social objectives. Certainly, a large part of the function of law is that it should provide a deterrent against undesired behaviour. But in the Chinese conception, this deterrent does not remain limited to individual cases. Rather, good law results in the dissolution of social contradictions at the collective level. The epistemological basis for this seems to be the hypothesis of the optimal answer: for every problem, a response can be found that is not only acceptable for everyone, but generates outcomes in which all sides end up better off. This approach has deleterious consequences for the use of law, as it does not recognise that there may be cases in which two legitimate values conflict and a zero-sum decision imposes itself. In other words, where law often legitimises social conflict by providing a procedural channel for it to be addressed in a measured manner, the Chinese case seems to delegitimise these tensions, by assuming that the existence of tensions themselves means something is wrong in the state of Denmark.

It is, perhaps, more appropriate at the moment to consider Chinese law as a body of standing orders. They outline standard accepted practices for specific activities, which are to be followed until someone who has the political standing to do so, decides otherwise. Certainly, Xi has amassed considerable authority, and seems to still focus on enhancing discipline. It is, perhaps, in this sense that this article is best understood: the power that must, according to Xi, be locked up in a body of rules is the power of subaltern officials to disobey, not his own. Plus ça change…

Let’s Talk About Building a Rule of Law China

Studying Comrade Xi Jinping’s Important Elucidations on the Rule of Law

Since the 18th Party Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has stood on the strategic heights of the future fate of the Party and the country, put forward the struggle objective of building a rule of law China, and has published a series of important elucidations on building the rule of law, which further clarified the direction of and the path for accelerating the building of a Socialist rule of law country. The content of the speeches was profound, pragmatic and innovative, and contained a large amount of sincere feelings of putting people first and linking hearts up with the people, it provided strong theoretical guidance for moving the construction of a rule of law China forward, and symbolized the entry of the construction of a Socialist rule of law country into a new historical stage.

I, Let rule of law become a sort of belief for the whole people

In January 2013, Comrade Xi Jinping gave important instructions on political-legal work under new circumstances, and put forward the magnificent objective of building a rule of law China for the first time. The formation of the Socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics generally resolved the question of having laws to rely on, but rule of law construction remained a matter of arduous work along a long path. Laws cannot just be articles on paper, but they must be written into the hearts of citizens, ensuring that rule of law becomes a sort of belief for the whole people. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that we must establish the authority of the law among the broad cadres and masses, ensure that the people fully believed in the law and consciously used the law, shape a belief in the law in the entire society, carry forward a rule of law spirit, foster a rule of law culture, and shape a good atmosphere of studying the law, respecting the law, abiding by the law and using the law in all of society. This has had a major and profound significance for the acceleration of building a Socialist rule of law country.

Belief in the rule of law leads the construction of a rule of law China. Belief in the rule of law means identifying with the law, trusting in the law, abiding by and defending the law from the heart. Whenever rule of law becomes a sort of belief, the people will consciously and voluntarily abide by the law with perseverance for the long term, and make handling affairs according to the law into their life habit. Only if the law is believed in, and it becomes a form conviction, can it be internalized as a standard for people’s actions. Following the deepening of the construction of national rule of law, our legal texts have become ever more perfect, the people’s knowledge and understanding of the law have become ever more rich, but why are there still so many profound problems in legislation, law enforcement, the judiciary and observance of the law? Why does the phenomenon that laws are divorced from reality, and institutions are divorced from reality, still exist? The reason lies in the fact that a belief in the law has not been truly established. With regards to those in government, a belief in the rule of law is the basis for rule of law thinking and role of law methods. Only by believing in the rule of law from the heart, will it be possible to shape rule of law thoughts, and will it be possible to actively, consciously and adeptly use rule of law methods. Where the common citizen is concerned, the basis for the rule of law lies in the support of the people from their heart, the majesty of the rule of law lies in the sincere belief of the people. Only by striving to cast the rule of law spirit and the concept of the rule of law into people’s minds, and form habits where affairs are handled according to the law, the law is sought when problems occur, the law is used to resolve problems, and the law is relied on to dissolve contradictions, can the rule of law release the positive energy of norms in an uninterrupted stream. Comrade Xi Jinping put the rule of law at the height of belief, and so grasped the most central issue in building a rule of law China, this gave prominence to the guiding function that belief in the rule of law has in building a role of law China, and has clear characteristics of the times as well as a major significance in realities.

Foster a rule of law belief in practicing the rule of law. Belief in the rule of law requires gradual accumulation and formulation in the concrete practice of scientific law-making, strict law enforcement, a fair judiciary and complete observance of the law. The popular masses’ belief in the rule of law cannot come out of nothing, to let the popular masses believe in the rule of law, it is first necessary to let them really feel that the law is able to play an effective role, and believe that the rule of law can bring concrete benefits to them. Comrade XI Jinping stressed that: “We must, through unwavering efforts, establish the authority of the Constitution and the law in the entire society, that the broad popular masses fully believe in the law and consciously use the law, make the broad popular masses understand that the Constitution is not only a norm for action that must be observed by the whole body of citizens, but is also a legal weapon that guarantees citizens’ rights”. This requires that legislation must truly reflect the masses’ interests and appeals; it requires that law enforcement organs and judicial organs are able to handle affairs according to the law when the populace needs the protection of their lawful rights and interests, and that fairness is upheld for them. Thus, people are made to believe that as long as something is a reasonable and lawful appeal, a reasonable and lawful result can be obtained through legal procedure. When people feel fairness and justice in one law enforcement or judicial procedure after another, and obtain real assistance, the belief in the rule of law will naturally be built in people’s hearts and in the entire society. Only when the rule of law becomes a universal belief in the entire society, can a rule of law country be realized.

II, Completely move the implementation of the law forward with strict law enforcement as focus point

Comrade Xi Jinping gave high regard to the question of law enforcement, stressing that “the vitality of the law lies in its implementation”, he clearly pointed out the position and role of legislative organs, administrative organs, judicial organs and the broad citizens in the implementation of the law, required that administrative organs take the lead in strictly enforcing the law, raising the capacity of leading bodies and leading cadres at all levels to use rule of law thinking and rule of law methods, strengthening supervision over law enforcement activities, and persisting in eradicating all illegal interference with law enforcement activities.

The implementation of law has become the main contradiction in building a rule of law China. To implement the basic plan of governing the country according to the law and accelerating the construction of a Socialist rule of law country, the complete and effective implementation of the Constitution and the law must be guaranteed. Safeguarding the authority of the Constitution and the law means safeguarding the authority of the Party and the common will of the people. Guaranteeing the implementation of the Constitution and the law means the guaranteeing the realization of the people’s fundamental interests. The great majority of the main problems that our country’s rule of law construction faces exist in the area of legal implementation, such as the fact that supervisory organs and concrete institutions guaranteeing the implementation of the Constitution and the law are not complete; law enforcement and judicial problems that relate to the personal interests of the popular masses are still relatively prominent; a number of public servants abuse their power, neglect their duty and engage in malpractice, break the law during law enforcement and even bend the law for relatives and friends, which gravely harms the authority of the State legal system; the constitutional and legal consciousness of citizens, including a number of leading cadres, remains to be further raised. In this regard, Comrade Xi Jinping requires that “we must strengthen the implementation of the Constitution and the law, safeguard the unity, dignity and authority of the Socialist legal system, shape a rule of law environment in which people do not want to break the law, cannot beak the law and do not dare to break the law, and ensure that there are laws to rely on, law enforcement must be strict, and violations of law must be prosecuted.” Through the complete implementation of the Constitution and the law, a shift from a “system of laws” to “a system of rule of law” is to be realized.

Strict law enforcement is the heaviest of heavies in the implementation of the law. In our country, more than 80 per cent of laws and regulations are enforced by administrative organs. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that: “administrative organs are the main bodies for the implementation of laws and regulations, they must take the lead in strictly enforcing the law, safeguarding the public interest, the people’s interests and social order. Law enforcers must be faithful to the law, they cannot suppress the law with power, and personally defy the law, neither can they bestow favours outside of the law or bend the law for relatives and friends. All levels’ leading organs and leading cadres must raise their ability to use legal thinking and legal methods, strive to concentrate a consensus for reform, standardize development activities, stimulate the dissolution of contradictions, and guarantee social harmony through the rule of law”. The requirements on law enforcers has risen from the pure strict enforcement of the law, to loyalty to the law and raising the ability to use legal thinking and legal methods, this grasps the crux of the problem. A number of prominent problems that currently exist in the area of law enforcement, such as coercive law enforcement, for-profit law enforcement, selective law enforcement, wilful law enforcement, etc., spring from the fact that a number of law enforces lack reverence for and loyalty to the law and the rule of law in their hearts. Only if loyalty to the law is established, can the problem of legal violations in law enforcement be thoroughly resolved from the ideological source. At the same time, it is also necessary to strengthen supervision over law enforcement activities, determinedly eliminate illegal interference in law enforcement activities, determinedly prevent and overcome local protectionism and departmental protectionism, determinedly prevent and overcome law enforcement work being driven by interests, determinedly punish corrupt phenomena, and ensure that power comes with responsibility, the use of power us supervised, and violations of the law must be prosecuted.

III, Pay even more attention to the core position of the people in building the rule of law

The popular masses are the core of building a rule of law China, the satisfaction of the popular masses is the final norm to measure the building of a rule of law China. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that the people’s yearning for beautiful lives, is our struggle objectives; we must listen to the calls of the people at all times, respond to the people’s expectations, guarantee the people’s rights of equal participation and equal development, and safeguard social justice and fairness; we must, with the interests of the broadest people in mind, persist in a judiciary for the people. These important elucidations reflect the governance concept of putting people first, and ensure that the building of a rule of law China has a broad and profound popular basis.

Realizing, safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of the broadest people are the objectives of rule of law building. Persisting in and respecting the core position of the people is first and foremost reflected in realistically guaranteeing the people’s constitutional and legal rights. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that “only by guaranteeing that the people are all equal in the face of the law, respecting and guaranteeing human rights, and guaranteeing the rights and liberties that the people enjoy according to the law, can the Constitution deeply enter into people’s hearts and march into the popular masses, and can the implementation of the Constitution truly become a conscious act of the whole body of the people”. We must raise the scientific and democratic levels of legislation, perfect legislative work mechanisms and procedures, broaden orderly participation by the masses, fully listen to opines from all sides, ensure that the law correctly reflects the demands of economic and social development, and coordinate relationships of interests even better. We must persist in a judiciary for the sake of the people, improving judicial work styles, serve through enthusiasm, and realistically resolve the problem that it is difficult for the common people to file lawsuits. This requires that we establish a work orientation that puts the people central, put the people in the highest position in our hearts from beginning to end, implement the Party’s mass line in every segment of legislation, law enforcement and judicial work, and persist in linking up with the masses, sticking close to the masses, relying on the masses and serving the masses.

Make relying on popular participation into the basic method for building the rule of law. The masses are most concerned about their personal interests, they are most clear about the reasons why contradictions and disputes come into being, and the crux of problems that exist, and they have the most wisdom to resolve them. Comrade Xi Jinping requires that we must persist in and develop the “Fengqiao Experience”, be good at using rule of law thinking and rule of law methods to resolve contradictions and problems that affect the masses’ personal interests. We must innovate work methods, integrate the Mass Line and rule of law thinking, firmly rely on grass-roots organizations and the broad masses to prevent and dissolve social contradictions, and let the masses themselves team up to resolve their own problems through rule of law methods. Persist in scientific policymaking and democratic policymaking, make the process of policy formulation into a process that listens to the popular will, removes the people’s worries, and wins the support of the masses. We must fully rely on the popular masses, consciously accept supervision by the popular masses, realize the integration of specialized organs and mass participation, and persist in marching the Mass line. We must expand judicial openness strength, increase law enforcement transparency to the largest extent, guarantee parties’ and the popular masses’ right to know and right to supervise, and respond to the popular masses’ attention on and expectations about judicial fairness and openness. Perfect people’s assessor and people’s supervisor systems, and expand channels for the orderly participation of the popular masses in the judiciary. We must form effective restraint and supervision mechanisms for the use of judicial power through the endowment by institutional design and the guaranteeing of procedural rights of parties and their counsel.

Make the satisfaction of the people into the fundamental standard to test the results of the building of rule of law. Legislative, law enforcement and judicial organs must persist in making the satisfaction of the people into an objective, and incessantly raise the sense of identification and the level of trust of the popular masses. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that what is called judicial fairness means that rights that are infringed certainly will be protected and granted relief, and that law-breaking and criminal activities must absolutely be sanctioned and punished. Only if the popular masses are able to guarantee their own lawful rights and interests through judicial procedures, can the judiciary have credibility, can the popular masses trust the judiciary, can the law truly play the role in defining a persons’ status and ceasing disputes, and can the final function of judicial adjudication be realized. The people pass the final judgment on the complete value of judicial work. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that: “We must strive to let the popular masses feel that they have received fairness and justice in every case” Implementing this judicial work objective, on one hand, requires a focus on fairness and justice in individual cases. Starting from raising the case-handling quality in every concrete case, and through dealing fairly with thousands upon thousands of cases, can complete trust of the people in judicial fairness be accumulated. Persist in preventing unjust, falsified and mistaken cases, unfair dealing in every concrete case means concrete injury to justice and fairness. On the other hand, we must focus on making fairness and justice felt, completely implement judicial openness, expand the enforcement strength of procedural law, and ensure that judicial fairness is realized in a such a manner that the popular masses can feel it. We must further raise mass work capacity, the law should not be icy cold, judicial work is also mass work. Judicial workers must closely link up with the masses, if they do not understand the language of the masses, do not understand the hardships of the masses, and are not aware of the appeals of the masses, it will be difficult to grasp correct work methods, and it will be difficult for them to play their due role. Mass work capacity is an important component part of judicial capacity, it is necessary to establish mechanisms for legislative officials and prosecutorial officials to go to the grass roots and link up with the masses, to ensure that judicial personnel incessantly raises its horizon in practicing for the sake of the people, derive strength, raise their abilities, and truly perform judicial work to the bottoms of their hearts.

The Law Society of China is a people’s organization under Party leadership, it is a bridge and node for the Party and the government to link up with the broad legal scholars and legal workers, and it bears important responsibility in letting legal research flourish, moving ruling the country according to the law forward, and building a rule of law China. The work of the Law Society equally must establish a correct mass view, realizing the protection and development of the fundamental interests of the broadest people is to become a starting point and a stopover point in all work, ensuring “three serves”: serving the bigger picture of Party and State work, serving the grass roots and the masses, and serving the broad legal scholars and legal workers. We must closely revolve around the issues that correspond to the popular masses’ interests in rule of law building, organize legal scholars and legal workers to research these deeply and put forward counter-policy advice to the Centre. We must fully give rein to the advantages of broad connections and the galaxy of talent, organize and mobilize the broad legal scholars and legal workers to vigorously participate in the work to prevent and dissolve contradictions and disputes, and participate in risk assessments for major policy decisions of the government. We must strengthen communication and contact with grass-roots common legal scholars and legal workers, listen to their aspirations, understand their opinions and demands, and grasp their implementation one by one.

IV, Leading cadres taking the initiative is crucial

Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that all levels’ leading cadres must take the lead in handing affairs according to the law, take the lead in respecting the law, and keeping reverential mind towards the Constitution and the law, and closely establish the concept that the red line cannot be touched and the legal baseline cannot be transgressed. All levels’ organization departments must make their ability to handle matters according to the law and to respect the law into important conditions for observing and distinguishing cadres. It is necessary to strengthen restraints and supervision on the use of power, to lock up power into a cage of rules, and to shape punitive institutions that don’t dare to be corrupt, preventive mechanisms that cannot be corrupt, and guarantee mechanisms that are not easily corrupted. No person has absolute power outside of the law, any person must serve the people, be responsible towards the people and consciously accept the supervision of the people when exercising power. These important elucidations stressed the crucial function of leading cadres in taking the lead in rule of law building, they have revealed the basic path to restrain and supervise power, and indicate new heights and new frontiers for our Party’s governance concepts.

Leading cadres taking the lead in respecting the law is the key to build a rule of law China. “Taking the lead” is reflected in even higher standards, even stricter requirements and even more practical work styles. All levels’ leading cadres are the concrete implementers of Party and State policies and laws, represent the image of the Party and the country, and their every word has a huge demonstrative effect on common cadres and the masses. Only if State organs and their work personnel, and especially leading cadres, take the lead in abiding by the law, and use the law to restrain their own activities, can it be possible for the law to be enforced equally, for the spirit of the rule of law to manifest itself, and can a belief in the rule of law be moulded. The thing that is most likely to have a guiding rule towards the masses, are the real actions of State organs and leading cadres. The eyes of the masses are bright as snow, when the use of power is not consistent with legal provisions, what people respect is not the law that is written on paper, but the real rules of the use of power. Regardless of however perfect legal provisions are, as long as power overrides the law in reality, the people will believe in power and not believe in the law. We must earnestly rethink and thoroughly correct places where the acts of officials and the provisions of the law are inconsistent, and strictly control power to remain on the track of the law. Only in this way can the people emulate their betters, and must they not be warned to follow a bad example.

Persist in opposing and overcoming privileged thinking and phenomena of privilege. Privilege is the ideological source and an important condition for engendered by corruption. Many leading cadres who break the law and believe that their own is related to the fact that they don’t understand the law, but in fact, what they lack isn’t knowledge about the law, but reference for the law. In their hearts, power is bigger than the law, and they didn’t think that these laws, one day, might truly be used on themselves, they mistakenly believed that as long as one has power in one’s hand, that once can decide whether or not the law is enforced. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed that anti-corruption and clean government construction must oppose thoughts and appearances of privilege. Strict punishment of corruption not only requires “hitting tigers” and “hitting flies” one by one, it is even more necessary to destroy the privileged thoughts behind corruption. Communist Party members eternally are ordinary members of the labouring people, apart from individual interests and work duties within the scope provided by laws and regulations, all Communist Party members are forbidden to seek any private interests and privileges. To prevent that a number of cadres change their public power into privilege and the abuse of power for personal gain, we must strengthen norms and restraints for the use of power, restrain power with power, restrain power with rights, and expand punishment strength for acts of privilege. At the same time as perfecting institutional construction, leaders must also firmly establish a consciousness that there are no exceptions in the face of rules deep in their heart, and not let power “avoid seniors”, before it is possible to eradicate the soil in which thoughts of privilege breed, guarantee that those in high position do not usurp power, and those with great power do not seek private gain.

(The author is the Party Secretary and Standing Vice-Director of the Law Society of China)


Establishment of New Internet Leading Group Reported

According to news reports that as yet remain to be verified, the CCP Central Committee will establish a “Small Leading Group for Informatization and Internet Information Security”. This Small Group would be chaired by Xi Jinping personally, with Li Keqiang and the ex-head of the Central Propaganda Department (CPD) Liu Yunshan as vice-directors. Lu Wei, the director of the State Internet Information Office, would be the director of the Small Group’s administrative office.

Small leading groups sit at the top of China’s administrative hierarchies. They provide close connection between the top leadership and the administrative departments that are to implement policy, and allow for coordination across bureaucratic lines. Currently, there are two small groups directly dealing with the Internet: the State Informatization Leading Group (SILG) and the State Network and Information Security Coordination Small Group (SNISCSG) The former was established in 2001, has mainly been working under the auspices of MIIT (the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology). It is chaired by the Premier, currently Li Keqiang, who is assisted by Zhang Gaoli and Ma Kai, both vice premiers and economic experts; CPD director Liu Qibao; General Fan Changlong, a vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Guo Shengkun, the Minister of Public Security. The Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei, heads the SILG’s administrative office. The SNISCSG is more secretive. It was established in 2010 by expanding the remit of MIIT’s Information Security Coordination Department, and was headed by Li Keqiang, who was Vice-Premier at that time. Its administrative office is run by MIIT vice-minister Yang Xueshan, further staffing details have not been made public. It seems to have been involved in a 2012 campaign to “launch focus domain website and information security inspections“. Its membership is not known, but membership lists of similar groups at the local level show list deputy heads of propaganda, secrecy preservation, economy and trade, education, science and technology, public security, finance, information industry, culture, telecommunications and radio and television management departments. To further complicate matters, there is also a National Information Security Ranking and Protection Coordination Small Group, that is headed by Zhang Xinfeng, Vice-Minister of Public Security and Vice-Director of the State Internet Information Office.

If true, this move would indicate a further concentration of power in the hands of Xi Jinping after the recent announcement that he would also chair the Leading Small Group for the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform. This new Leading Small Group would have tremendous power over the control and circulation of information at all levels, from the protection of infrastructure and industrial information networks to the management of social media and microblogs. It is reported that the publication of this move caused the share prices of information security companies to rise. Currently, corresponding news reports are being censored.


Rectifying words with the Sinica podcast

This week, CC&M editor Rogier Creemers was a guest on the Sinica podcast, which discusses rectifying names, or are terms often used to describe particular aspects of China justified? Many thanks to hosts Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn for the invitation, and to David Moser for the enlightening conversation. You can download the podcast here.

Correctly Deal With Both Historical Periods Before and After Reform and Opening Up

This article was originally published by People’s Daily on 8 November 2013.

Study General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Elaboration concerning the “Two Cannot Denies”

CCP Central Committee Party History Research Department

General Secretary Xi Jinping profoundly pointed out that there are two historical periods in our Party leading the people in conducting Socialist construction, before the Revolution and after the Revolution, these are two periods that are mutually connected and have major differences, but essentially they are both the exploration in practice of the Party leading the people in conducting Socialist construction. He stressed that the historical period before reform and opening up must be correctly evaluated, the historical period after reform and opening up cannot be used to deny the historical period before reform and opening up, neither can the period before reform and opening up be used to deny the historical period after reform and opening up (hereafter, this sis simply called the “Two cannot denies”. This major elaboration by General Secretary Xi Jinping has profoundly reflected the fundamental position and clear attitude of our Party concerning these major questions. Studying General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important elaboration, has an important guiding significance in correctly understanding and grasping both historical periods before and after reform and opening up, and even the entire history of the Party, in further strengthening self-confidence about the path, self-confidence about the theory and self-confidence about the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics through strengthening self-confidence about the Party’s history, and in resolutely continuing to push forward with the magnificent undertaking of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Continue reading