New briefing paper: Governing the Web

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Recently, I contributed to the European Council on Foreign Relation’s China Analysis series of briefing papers. This paper, “Governing the Web” examines recent changes in Internet governance and regulation in China. 

“The internet has gained a new importance in Chinese domestic politics. It is seen as a powerful driver of economic reform, enables more effective social management by government, and realigns the central-local nexus within the party-state architecture.

“Nevertheless, there are international tensions, particularly in the relationship with the United States. Concerns about information and network security have driven China to pursue a policy of software indigenisation and to raise the requirements for foreign technology suppliers. They also fuel the hawkish voices that are already prominent in Chinese public discourse.

“If China and the international community wish to continue reaping the benefits of burgeoning technological change, it will be necessary to achieve some level of mutual co-operation that addresses China’s security concerns while maintaining the operational openness and ethos of collaboration at the heart of the internet’s architecture.”

The full paper can be downloaded free of charge on the ECFR website.

Outline of Operations to Stimulate the Development of Big Data

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State Council Notice concerning Printing and Issuance of the Outline of Operations to Stimulate the Development of Big Data

GF No. (2015)50

All provincial, autonomous region and municipal People’s Governments, all State Council ministries and commissions, all directly subordinate bodies.

Hereby, the “Outline of Operations to Stimulate the Development of Big Data” is printed and issued to you, please implement it earnestly.

State Council

31 August 2015 Read the rest of this entry »

Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China (Draft)

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This translation was published first on China Law Translate, and is the result of a collaborative effort led by Jeremy Daum. It is republished here with his kind permission. I contributed translations of chapters I and II, amongst others. 

The 15th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress performed initial review of this “People’s Republic of China Cybersecurity Law (Draft)” in June 2014. The ” People’s Republic of China Cybersecurity Law (Draft)” is hereby released to the public on the Chinese National People’s Congress website for collection of public comments. The public can directly log in to the NPC website (( )and provide comments; and may also mail comments to the National People’s Congress Legal Work Committee, (Beijing, Xicheng District, Qianmen West Road #1, 100805) [in Chinese: 北京市西城区前门西大街1号,邮编:100805] Please clearly indicate on the envelope that it is a comment on the Cybersecurity Law draft. The consultation period concludes on: August 5, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

National Security Law of the People’s Republic of China

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(Passed at the 15th Meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress Standing Committee on 1 July 2015)

Chapter I: General principles

Article 1: In order to safeguard national security, defend the people’s democratic dictatorship regime and the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, protect the fundamental interests of the people, ensure the smooth progress of reform, opening up and Socialist modernization construction, and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, in accordance with the Constitution, this Law is formulated. Read the rest of this entry »

Cybersecurity Law draft under discussion at NPC

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A few days ago, it was reported in the Chinese press that opinions were solicited concerning the promulgation of cybersecurity legislation. According to these reports, consultation meetings had already been held with large Chinese companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, 360 and Huawei, and that public consultation would be imminent. In the mean time, a draft cybersecurity law has been presented to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee at its bimonthly meeting. No text has been released as of yet, but a Xinhua press release summaries the main points of the draft. 

Draft Cybersecurity Law: Safeguard Sovereignty in Cyberspace

Xinhua (Journalists Luo Yufan, Chen Fei)

In order to ensure cybersecurity, safeguard sovereignty and national security in cyberspace, stimulate the healthy development of economic and social informatization, the incessant perfection of laws and regulations in the area of cyberspace protection is urgently required. The 5th Meeting of the 12th National People’s Congress Standing Committee has deliberated a draft cybersecurity law on the 24th.

The draft has 18 articles in 7 chapters, and provides a concrete structural design for areas such as guaranteeing the security of network products and services, guaranteeing the security of network operations, guaranteeing the security of network data, and guaranteeing the security of network information. Read the rest of this entry »

Notice concerning Further Strengthening Management of Radio and Television Presenters and the Use of Guest Stars

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This translation is based on a Xinhua announcement via QQ News. I am not sure this is the complete text of the Notice, given its brevity and lack of detail, but no more complete version has so far been published.

XGDF No. [2015]129

I, Strictly implement on-the-job management regulations for presenters.

News, commentary and interview programmes may not have or covertly have assisting presenter positions, radio and television programmes must have a clear division of work between presenters and guest stars, presenters shall be responsible for anchoring, guiding and controlling the programme, it is prohibited to have “guest star presenters”, and guest stars cannot exercise the duties of presenters.

II, Strengthen information management of presenters’ professional conduct.

III, Earnestly implement pre-broadcast censorship and rebroadcast re-censorship structures.

IV, Strengthen education and training for presenters and guest stars.

V, Make clear who bears chief responsibilities, and ensure they are satisfactorily carries out.

VI, Ensure that presenter qualifications are inspected and management structures are constructed for presenters and guest stars.

This Notice takes effect on 1 July 2015. The Notice requires that all radio and television work units “grasp the research and formulation of management rules for presenters and the use of guest stars in that work unit, professional conduct information management rules, pre-broadcast censorship regulations and education and training plans.











China’s Constitutionalism Debate: The Article

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My article on China’s 2013 constitutionalism debate and its implications for political and legal reform has now been published in The China Journal. It can be accessed, for academic subscribers, through JSTOR. The working paper version remains available on SSRN.

Management Rules for the Dissemination of Audiovisual Programmes through the Internet and Other Information Networks

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(Opinion-solicitation draft)

Chapter I: General Principles

Article 1: In order to standardize the audiovisual programme dissemination order through the Internet and other information networks, stimulate the healthy and orderly development of audiovisual programme dissemination services through the Internet and other such information networks, safeguard the national interest and the public interest, and protect the lawful rights and interests of the public and bodies involved, these Rules are formulated. Read the rest of this entry »

Foster Good Netizens, Build a Safe Net Together

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Speech at the Initiation Ceremony for the 2nd National Cybersecurity Propaganda Week

1 June 2015

Lu Wei

All respected guests,

Comrades, students, friends:

Good morning, everyone! Today is “1 June”, the International Children’s Day, on this beautiful day that belongs to children, we are holding the initiation ceremony for the 2nd National Cybersecurity Propaganda Week in the China Science and Technology Museum. First and foremost, on behalf of the Central Internet Information Office [Note: this is a literal translation, the official English name for this body is the Cyberspace Administration of China], I’d like to send my congratulations to children on this holiday, and would like to express heartfelt thanks to all sponsoring work units, all localities and all departments, all enterprises and news media that support and participate in this Cybersecurity Propaganda Week! Read the rest of this entry »

State Governance in the Internet Era

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This article was originally posted on the Red Flag Manuscripts/Seeking Truth website on 22 May.

Song Fangmin

The 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress put forward the overall objective of comprehensively deepening reform, which requires “perfecting and developing the Socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and moving forward the modernization of State governance systems and governing capabilities”. The modernization of State governance systems and governing capabilities transcend and develop traditional management, they cannot do without the support of modern Internet and informatization technologies, this is a major change with revolutionary significance, and requires our deep research. Read the rest of this entry »

Cybersovereignty Symbolizes National Sovereignty

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This article was published today in the PLA Daily, and reposted on the Seeking Truth website.

No-one living today can leave the network. The network is changing people’ lives, and is profoundly influencing national security.

Cybersovereignty symbolized national sovereignty. The online space is also the security space of a nation. If we do not occupy the online battlefield ourselves, others will occupy it; if we do not defend online territory ourselves, sovereignty will be lost, and it may even become a “bridgehead” for hostile forces to erode and disintegrate us.

The Internet has become the main battlefront for struggle in the ideological area. With the existence of the network, the ideological front has been completely thrown open, gates of minds have become gates of the country, defence of the mind has become defence of the country, and a battle of the minds has become a hidden war. Whoever controls the network, will seize the commanding heights in the ideological struggle, and command the lifelines of national security and development in the information era.

Network resources are not virtual resources, but they are real resources involving national security. In the network age, a country’s information, resources, morale, key nodes, etc., can be wantonly pillaged by hostile nations who control advanced network technology.

National security has become an important component part of our country’s overall security “chessboard”. It may be said that without cybersecurity, there is no national security.

With regard to cybersecurity, apart from the fact that we have strengthened technological forces, strengthening “moral defence” forces should become the heaviest of heavies. The Internet is “the greatest variable” that we face, if we do not handle it well, it may become “an anxiety in hearts and minds”. Especially online ideological work involves our banners, our path and national political security, this is a core battlefield that we must defend and occupy. A scholar pointed out that: “control of cyber power in the 21st century is equally decisive as controlling naval power in the 19th Century and airpower in the 20th”. Western anti-China forces have continuously and vainly attempted to use the Internet to topple China. A few years ago, western political leaders stated that “with the Internet, there is a way to counter China”, and “Socialist countries will fall into the Western fold, and this will start with the Internet”.

Consequently, Western hostile forces and a small number of “ideological traitors” in our country use the network, and relying on computers, mobile phones and other such information terminals, maliciously attack our Party, blacken the leaders who founded the New China, vilify our heroes, and arouse mistaken thinking trends of historical nihilism, with the ultimate goal of using “universal values” to mislead us, using “constitutional democracy” to throw us into turmoil, use “colour revolutions” to overthrow us, use negative public opinion and rumours to oppose us, and use “de-partification and depoliticization of the military” to upset us.

On this battlefield of the Internet, whether or not we are able to ward of the enemy from the gates of minds, directly affects our country’s ideological security and regime security. This is an online public opinion battle with glints and flashes of cold steel and numerous opportunities to make a kill. Back in the day, to tackle the Soviet Union, one method Western hostile forces adopted was online infiltration in the ideological area. Afterwards, in the Southern Alliance, and a number of countries in Southwest Asia, and North Africa, they played the same tricks: through subverting the online platforms of their target countries, they used means such as garbled statements and palming off the spurious as the genuine to attack their targets, and so by borrowing a knife to kill someone, they eliminated their strategic adversary in the real world.

If hearts are won, there is gladness, if hearts are lost, there is failure. A regime’s disintegration often begins in the ideological area, political upheaval and regime change can happen in the space of a night, but ideological evolution is a long-term process. If the ideological front is broken, other fronts will become difficult to hold. We must grasp the leadership power, management power and discourse power in online ideology work closely in our hands, we cannot let it fall to others at any time, otherwise, we will make irreversible and historical mistakes.

Even so, in comparison with the strategic attacks conducted in an organized, targeted, planned and gradual manner by hostile powers who have dominated online public opinion guidance power for a ling time, a small number of leading cadres in our Army haven’t yet learnt “the art of swimming” in the high waves of the network, they lack a sober understanding and sense of worry concerning the circumstances of the online public opinion struggle, and lack an active understanding and sense of purpose in battling for online “terrain” for the sake of the Party, the country and the Army.

Strengthening online ideology work means safeguarding the highest interest of the country and the nation, and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the people. In the face of this struggle, we cannot and must not retreat, we cannot and must not lose. If we do not give high regard to cybersovereignty, and do not put online ideological work in a high position and grasp it in our hands, the masses will be led astray by the enemy, and the military will face the risk of changing of nature and colour. It may be said that our biggest danger endangers it battlefield, and the most crucial matter is the crux of this battlefield.

It is still necessary to field the main force on this battlefield. In the journey towards a strong country and a strong military, our Army must not only firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests on the tangible traditional battlefield, it must also firmly defend ideological security and political security on the intangible cyber battlefield, this is a task to which we are duty-bound. Only if we act as we did at the time of the Battle of Triangle Hill, are riveted to the most forward position of the battlefield and the fight in this ideological struggle, are online “seed machines and propaganda teams”, and arouse hundreds and thousands in the “Red Army”, will we be able to be good shock troops and fresh troops in the construction of the “Online Great Wall”, and will we be able to endure and vanquish in this protracted, smokeless war.

Army Newspaper: We Can Absolutely Not Allow the Internet Become a Lost Territory of People’s Minds

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This article was published originally on 12 May in the PLA Daily

Since ancient times, those who won people’s minds won all under heaven. Now, the main battleground to contend for people’s minds has shifted towards the Internet.

Mao Zedong said: “Whenever you want to overthrow a regime, you must first create public opinion, you must first do ideological work. This is the case with the revolutionary class, it is also the case with the counterrevolutionary class.” The collapse of a regime often begins in the ideological area, the loss of the ideological area is the most dangerous loss. If a military defence line is not stable, it will break down after one blow, if the ideological defence line is not stable, it will fall of its own accord, even without a blow, “political upheaval and regime change might happen in a single night”. Read the rest of this entry »

Provisions on Admonishment Meetings with Internet News Information Services

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第二条 国家互联网信息办公室、地方互联网信息办公室建立互联网新闻信息服务单位约谈制度。












第十条 本规定由国家互联网信息办公室负责解释,自2015年6月1日起实施。

New essay: Cyber Leninism – History, Political Culture and the Internet in China

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While many scholars have debated the question whether the Internet would change China, the question whether China would change the Internet has received less attention. However, the Internet’s arrival in China meant it entered into a highly complex, historically formed political culture. This created a lens through which government has perceived the potential harms and benefits of Internet technology, and a normative basis for a governing strategy. This essay attempts a preliminary exploration of how the cultural elements of Chinese politics, deeply influenced by both Confucian and Leninist tenets, have interacted with information technology. It is available free of charge through SSRN.

Notice concerning the Standardization of the Online Reprinting Copyright Order

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In order to implement the CCP Central Committee General Office and State Council General Office “Guiding Opinions concerning Promoting the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media”, encourage lawful and sincere business between newspaper and periodical work units and Internet media, promote the establishment and completion of copyright cooperation mechanisms, and standardize the online reprint copyright order, on the basis of the relevant regulations of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China”, the “Copyright Law Implementation Regulations of the People’s Republic of China”, and the “Regulations to Protect the Right of Distribution Through Information Networks”, matters concerning standardizing the online reprint copyright order are hereby notified as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Some Opinions concerning Deepening Structural and Mechanism Reform and Accelerating the Implementation of the Innovation Driving Development Strategy

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13 March 2015

Innovation is an important force in the progressive development of a country and a nation, and is an important force in promoting the progressive development of the entire human society. In the face of a new round of global scientific and technological revolution and major opportunities and challenges in industrial reform, in the face of the trends, changes and characteristics of a new economic normal, and in the face of the historical tasks and demands of the “Two Centenaries” struggle objectives, we must deepen structural and mechanism reform, accelerate the implementation of the Innovation Driving Development Strategy, the following opinions are hereby put forward. Read the rest of this entry »

Proposal on Upholding Cyber and Information Security

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On 6 February, the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization and China Mobile jointly organized a nationwide conference for cyber and information security, at which China Telecom, China Mobile, People’s Daily Online, Xinhua Online, Qihoo 360 and other such Internet and information technology firms committed to new list of proposals concerning reforming the online environment. These documents mostly have symbolic value, but demonstrate the continuing pressure on enterprises to “identify with” (rentong ) the State’s objectives.

Since the 18th Party Congress, and especially since the establishment of the Central Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, the Centre has put forward a series of major policies and strategic deployments concerning cybersecurity and informatization work, greatly inspiring internet and information technology enterprises as well as sectoral organizations nationwide. Everyone deeply feels major responsibilities, and shall dare to undertake work, act vigorously, give rein to their own superiorities, and truly make even greater contributions to safeguarding our country’s cyber and information security. To this end, the Chinese Cyberspace Security Association, together with all Internet and information technology enterprises and sectoral organizations publish the following proposal: Read the rest of this entry »