Speech at the 7th Sino-US Internet Forum
2 December 2014
Respected madam Catherine Novelli,
Respected misters Craig Mundi, and Shen Xiangyang,
Respected mister Wu Hequan,
Ladies, gentlemen, friends:
Good morning everyone! Today, government representatives and business elites from the Chinese and US Internet circles have come together in Washington, to together welcome the opening of the 7th Sino-US Internet Forum. I represent the Cyberspace Administration of China in sincerely and enthusiastically congratulating the convention of the Forum! And in expressing sincere thanks to the Forum’s sponsors, Microsoft and the Internet Society of China!
Since last year, China’s President XI Jinping and President Obama have grasped general tends and looked towards the future, from the Annenberg “estate meeting” to the “Ocean Platform Meeting” in Zhongnanhai, they have reached an important consensus of together building a new type of great power relations between China and the US, this met with high praise and broad recognition from international society, and pushed relationships between both countries into a new historical phase. Following the rapid advance of Internet developments, cyber relations between China and the US have attracted unprecedented attention and concern, they have expanded from commercial cooperation and people-to-people communication to become a focus point in bilateral relationships, and a focus point for attention from all sides, they have become an important content of a new type of great power relationship between China and the US, influence the future of both countries to a considerable degree. Sino-US cyber relationships in a new era tend generally to be good, and are advancing steadily, but there are some bumps on the path ahead, which mainly present the following two characteristics:
First, there is deep convergence, and relations of interest. For China and the US, in cyberspace, where there is me there is you, and where there is you there is me, we have become an inseparable development community, community of interests and community of destiny. China is the largest foreign market for US Internet enterprises, it seems as if all famous American Internet enterprises enjoy huge profits from China, half of Qualcomm’s profits come from China, half of the new users of Apple devices come from China, nearly 1000 US investment funds have made China into a focus point, their tentacles spread into all areas of China’s Internet, they occupy more than a half of foreign investment, and the ups and downs of US enterprises are closely connected with the Chinese market. The US is the main designation for Chinese Internet enterprises to go public abroad, nearly fifty Chinese Internet enterprises are listed in the US, with a combined market value of nearly 500 billion US Dollars, US shareholders have enjoyed great dividends from the development of China’s Internet markets. Recently, Alibaba went public in the US, creating the largest IPO in world history, with a market capitalization in excess of 25 billion dollars, experts and analysts believe that US shareholders have not only invested capital into Alibaba, but also confidence in China’s Internet, confidence in China’s market, and confidence in China’s future.
Second, there are differences, and from time to time, there is friction. Yesterday, I got on the plane from Beijing to Washington, across the Pacific, a flight of more than 10.000 kilometres. I thought, such a long distance, if there would be no contact, how could differences emerge? It is exactly because the China-US Internet integration is becoming ever deeper, exchanges are becoming ever broader, and relationships are becoming ever closer, that our pints of differences can be easily be placed under a magnifying glass and a spotlight, in addition, there are cultural discrepancies, and so and so differences naturally emerge on some questions. For instance, concerning cyberspace governments, the US advocates “multistakeholderism” and China advocates “multilateralism”, this is, of course, no contradiction, and without “multilateralism”, from where would the “stakeholders” in “multistakeholderism” come? Conceptual differences are sedulously exaggerated into big differences, and not only this is useless to Sino-US cyber relations, it is also useless to the common governance and development of the global Internet.
There is deep integration, because there is confidence; differences exist, which illustrates a lack of trust. There is confidence, but there is a lack of trust, this is an unavoidable and inescapable problem in the present state of Sino-US cyber relations. There is an ancient Chinese story called “suspecting someone of stealing an axe”, which tells about how in the past, there was a person who lost an axe, and he suspected that his neighbour had stolen it, and so he secretly observed him. He looked at that person’s posture while walking, the expressions on his face, his manner of speaking, and in every act and every move, he looked like he stole the axe. But after a few days, he found this axe in his own garden, and only then remembered that he had forgotten it in the garden himself. So he looked at the neighbours again, and however much he looked, they no longer looked s if he stole the axe. This seemingly simple story tells us how valuable and important trust is, if there is a lack of trust between people, and if we look at people with subjective biases, the truth will be misunderstood and falsified, and the beautiful will be distorted and made ugly.
When we look across the history of twenty years of Sino-US exchange on the Internet, even thought some differences exist between both sides, the following basic verdict can be made: our consensus about cyberspace is greater than our differences, we engage in more cooperation than in disputes. Chairman Xi Jinping pointed out that those with common goals are partners, those seeking common ground while accepting certain differences are also partners. We may have differences, but we cannot have no communication, we may have arguments, but we cannot have no trust. We cannot let ourselves be misled by hype, nor can we have our eyes blocked by clouds, but we must take up the binoculars of historical laws and look forward carefully. We should consider that if both China and the US unite, they will both benefit, and there will be gains in many areas; if they clash, both will suffer, and this may even harm the world. China and the US should persist in a correct view of duty and interest, seek ever more points where interests converge, be friends rather than opponents, and be true friends rather than false friends. We should see that the Chinese Dream fundamentally corresponds with the American Dream, it is a dream of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, what we pursue is the welfare of the Chinese and American people, and is the common welfare of the people of all countries. We should see that, regarding the internet, consensus and cooperation are the main stream for China and the US, we must not only seek common ground while accepting differences, we must even more seek common ground to move forward together, let the Internet bring peace and security to humankind, let the Internet not become a channel for crime and terrorism, let the Internet help minors’ growing up, let the Internet serve the interests of developing countries even more, because they need the Internet more, this is also a true essential for Internet development. We should see that the Internet has changed the world into a global village, big exchange, big development and big conference are the tides of our times, joint sharing and joint governance is the choice of history, no-one can stop this, no-one can change this, only if we act in accordance with this and go in the right direction, will we be able to grasp the pulse of the times, and create and guide the future of humankind even better. For the sake of a common and beautiful future, we would like to share five standpoints with everyone:
I, Mutual appreciation instead of mutual denial. The Internet was born in the US, and marched into the world from the US, this is an important contribution that the US has made to human progress. China is the largest global Internet market, it has 4 million websites, 600 million netizens, and of the ten largest global Internet enterprises, 4 are Chinese, this year, the value of e-commerce trade alone is estimated to reach 2 trillion US dollars, and will grow at a rate of 30% per year. A few days ago, I was looking at the third quarter financial reports of Baidu, Alibaba, Dongjing and other such companies, their commercial income growth rate exceeds 50%, such growth is rare anywhere in the world. Such great achievements fully illustrate the fact that China’s Internet is open, they illustrate that China’s management is orderly, they illustrate that China’s reform and opening up is successful, they illustrate that the Chinese path that the Chinese people have chosen is correct, and they illustrate that the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is strong. We must not only acclaim our similarities, we must also mutually appreciate our differences, enjoy our own beauty, that of others, create beauty everywhere, admire the superiorities of others, learn from their experiences, but not go and deny the opponent or change the opponent.
II, Mutual respect, instead of antagonism and criticism. Regardless of whether they are large of small, countries are equal. In cyberspace, we should mutually respect cyber sovereignty, mutually resect the choice of the other sides’ Internet governance mode, mutually respect the major concerns in the cyber arena, mutually respect differences in cyber culture, communicate deeply, move forward understanding and broaden consensus. 20 years of Chinese Internet development practice demonstrate that whichever foreign company has won a market, won users and won benefits in china, without exception, they have respected China’s market environment, and without exception, they have respected China’s laws and regulations. Especially the lively cases of US enterprises’ development in China tell us that by choosing respect, they can grasp opportunities and deeply merge into the torrent of Chinese Internet innovation and development, and create boundless value; by choosing opposition, they will leave the tracks, isolate themselves, and in the end, will be abandoned by the market.
III, Joint sharing and joint governance, instead of only paying attention to one’s own benefit. Chairman Xi Jinping pointed out that we must establish a multilateral, democratic and transparent international Internet governing system, and together build a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace. This has become an important consensus in international cybergovernance. Large countries may be large, that does not mean their power is large, but it means their responsibility is large. Cyberspace may not become harmonious because of harmony between large countries, but it will certainly become overgrown with chaos, with utter disorder prevailing, when there is no trust between large countries. A responsible large country can absolutely not prevent other countries’ development for the sake of its own development, and can absolutely not harm other countries’ security for the sake of its own security. As long as we climb high and look far, and enthusiastically embrace a new era of joint cyberspace sharing and joint governance, we will certainly be able to transform the diversity of development into an inexhaustible dynamism and strong driver to promote the development of the global Internet, and let our posterity truly benefit from the magnificent changes that the Internet has brought to human societies.
IV, Communication and mutual trust, instead of mutual suspicion. China is the country with the most netizens in the world, for us, a clearer, peaceful and secure cyberspace is highly treasured; China is a major victim of cyber attacks, greater clarity about cybersecurity is highly important to us. The Chinese government has consistently opposed cyber attacks in any form. On questions of cybersecurity, China and the US must have more communication and more mutual trust, jointly attack cybercrime, cyber attacks, infringement of privacy and other such activities, jointly protect intellectual property rights, strongly attack cyber terrorism, and let the Internet become a cave of Alibaba, rather than Pandora’s box. I firmly believe that as long as we have wisdom and courage, cybersecurity can not only not become a breaking point for Sino-US relations, but can even become a new bright spot in Sino-US cooperation.
V, Cooperation and win win, instead of zero-sum games. The twenty years of China’s Internet development have been twenty years of mutual benefit and win-win, of coexistence and symbiosis with the US. Differences exist between the Chinese and the US Internet in areas such as market scale, business models, technological levels, talent training, etc., but these differences cannot become obstacles to cooperation. Exactly because we have broad differences, we are able to become much more strongly complementary, and we have limitless possibilities for cooperation and mutual benefit. With mutual trust and cooperation between the largest developed country and the largest developing country, the mutual impact of the most modern Western civilization and the longest-lasting Chinese culture, and the harmony between the most advanced information technologies and the broadest online market, Sino-US cooperation in the Internet area faces prospects that are even more vast than the Pacific Ocean!
Ladies, gentlemen, friends.
There is a famous phrase in Washington: “the true measure of a friend is in his actions, not in his words.” Chinese people also say “deeds are better than words.” As long as we start acting, build mutual trust in communication, and build win-win in cooperation, we will certainly be able to create beautiful futures for the Chinese and US Internet, and make historical contributions to promoting a new type of great power relationships between China and the US, and benefit both countries and even the people of the entire world!
Thank you, everyone!