National Discourse Power and Information Security against the Background of Economic Globalization

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This article by CAC director Lu Wei was published in People’s Daily in July 2010, when he was vice-director at Xinhua.

Lu Wei (Vice-Director, Xinhua News Agency)

Against the background of economic globalization, the information revolution is currently making global circumstances more complex through its cross-border, cross-organizational and cross-terrain impact. Information flows no longer consist of simple information communication, they guide capital, influence markets and decide on trade. Whoever effectively controls discourse power, grasps the orientation of information circulation. Discourse power and information security have become important symbols of economic soft power and even national soft power.

The meaning of national discourse power and information security.

The word “discourse” originated in cultural linguistics long ago, it refers to the exchange of meanings between a speaker and a recipient by means of language and other such symbols. Following the development of the times, the content and extent of “discourse” have seen a profound expansion of meaning. Once “discourse” is formed, it communicates specific value views, there are specific norms, and specific knowledge systems are built. “Quán” has a double meaning in law, one of “right” and one of “power”, this means that “huayuquan” not only refers to the right to speak but also to the fact that the effectiveness and power of speech must be guaranteed.

National discourse power is the influence of a country’s “speech” in the world. It can be divided into political discourse power, economic discourse power, cultural discourse power, military discourse power, foreign affairs discourse power, public opinion discourse power, etc. Against the background of economic globalization, economic discourse power decides a country’s influence, financial discourse power lies at its strength, and it includes both levels of collection power and communication power. Collection power refers to whether or not one is able to collect information from all areas in the world in real time, according to a country’s needs, especially where this concerns financial market information. The more timely and complete this can be collected, the stronger collection power is, and the larger communication power becomes. Collection power decides communication power, communication power decides influence, and influence decides soft power.

Information is an important strategic resource for social development, it is a basis for sustaining production activities, economic activities and social activities, and incessantly promotes the deepening of the global industrial division of labour and the adjustment of economic structures, it remoulds the structure of global economic competition. At present, there are two main communication channels for specialist information bodies: the first is the media channel, which includes news agencies, newspapers, periodicals, radio, television, the Internet and other such mass media; the second is the non-media channel, which mainly refers to directly interfacing with government bodies, enterprise and undertaking work units, financial organs and other such communication channels outside of the media, they are not perceived by the masses, and yet directly influence policymaking. Information disseminated on financial market mainly relies on the latter channels.

Information security is the extent and status of security in the process of information dissemination, storage and use. It can also be divided into political information security, economic information security, cultural information security, military information security, foreign affairs information security, public opinion information security, etc. Against the background of economic globalization, economic information security affects national security, it has financial market information security at its core, and includes both levels of content security and technological security. At present, large-scale capital market trading and financial circulation are realized through trading platforms in a networked manner. One-sided, false and distorted information may mislead capital and upset markets, loss of control over core technology, network leaks as well as hackers, viruses and so on may make large amounts of capital vanish in an instant. Without information security, there is no trading security, and there is no financial security or economic security, there will also not be national security in the complete sense.

National discourse power and information security are closely connected and inseparable. Without discourse power, it will not be possible to realize sustainable information security in the true sense of the world; without information security, it is also not possible to have strong and effective discourse power. The improvement of national discourse power is the basis to realize information security, the realization of information security provides guarantees for the improvement of national discourse power.

In the present world, the status quo of national discourse power and information security merits consideration. The information communication order is not fair, and information security is controlled by a small number of countries, these are the main contradictions. First, information resources are not allocated in a balanced manner, but there is a structure of a “twenty-eighty separation”. 20 per cent of the global population has 80 per cent of the information resources, 80 per cent of the population only enjoys 20% of the information resources. “Information-wealthy countries” and “information-poor countries” are gravely polarized, the “digital divide” not only has not been eliminated, but shows trends of increase in some areas. Second, information circulation is not equitable. The quantity of information from developed countries to developing countries is more than a hundred times larger than that of information from developing countries going to developed countries, numerous developing countries cannot actively and effectively communicate their own information and enjoy the information they require in a timely and comprehensive manner. Third, the information communication order is unfair and unjust. The dissemination of financial information is mainly grasped in the hands of a small number of information bodies, they represent the interests of minority groups, and monopolize the entire process of information collection processing, publication and communication.

Western developed countries rely on their economic, military, scientific and technological superiority, to emerge with the identity of “speaker” at public occasions at every turn, meaning that Western discourse structures have become global “prevalent discourse”. Prevalent discourse often contains latent discursive hegemony, depriving other countries of the right to speak, to say even less about their discursive power. One important cause for this international financial crisis, is that information collection power has been monopolized, communication power has been controlled, risks have been hidden, the reality has been concealed, a mistaken information current has deceived investors, driving capital into the abyss. After the financial crisis erupted, developed countries used their superior discourse power to shift their risks onto other countries, and developing countries have striven untiringly to strengthen their discourse power in the international financial system.

The current state of developing countries’ discourse power can be described as a deficiency of discourse power: they are not able to communicate, what is communicated becomes distorted, they are not able to collect, and what they collect is unreliable. First, the inability to communicate. If some day, on the information platform of a large stock exchange such as Wall Street, the news about China only is a bit of information about a mining disaster, it rolls by repeatedly. That day’s valuable information about China certainly will not be only this matter, but because we don’t have our own financial information platform, objective information cannot be sent into the global commodities market, it can only be selected and broadcast by others according to their value system. Second, the inability to collect. The financial information in major global financial markets is often monopolized by Western information bodies, the data developing countries need is often imported or bought in. All policymaking analysis is built on second-hand data, and one can well imagine the results. In 2008, Xinhua News Agency established a financial information collection point in Wall Street, and so far, it still is the only one established by a developing country in Wall Street.

The current state of developing countries’ information security can be described as a lack of guarantees for information security: there is a lack of core technologies, and there is a lack of control capacity. First, the lack of core technologies. The core technology of financial information platforms is mainly grasped in the hands of Western information bodies, developing countries – including China – are utterly dependent on them. In the 1970s and 1980s, when China’s capital markets were initially set up, a number of Western bodies took the initiative to give service terminals to our country’s financial bodies, and so imperceptibly controlled our country’s financial information security. Second, the lack of control capacity. Domestic financial bodies have, for a long time, received information through foreign service terminals, and engaged in trade, this not only required the payment of high amounts of service charges, it also meant the humiliating acceptance of “despotic clauses”, what talk of control capacity could there be? As our Agency learned through investigation and research, one important cause for the 2004 China Aviation Oil incident was that the leaks of trading data emerged in the trading process, and that the Chinese trader ran into a joint ambush of his opponents. International scalpers knew our situation like the back of their hand, while we weren’t clear about the opponent’s situation.

In safeguarding national discourse power and information security, the key lies in raising national strength, this must be realized through comprehensive measures, including controlling core information technologies, perfecting legal structures and systems, etc. Specifically, constructing a financial information platform with indigenous intellectual property rights is a matter of immediate urgency. This platform should have the following characteristics. First, integration. It must be able to provide comprehensive financial services to financial organs and other such users, that involve many kinds of financial products, it must integrate the entire process, from the collection and analysis of first-hand pre-trade information and the delivery and execution of orders during trading, to after-trading account settlement, completion of transactions, information feedback, users background support system information processing into one system, so that he entire process can be completed in a few seconds. Second, scale and efficiency. This system must communicate market information on a large sale, including pre-trade market trends, changes in economic and social circumstances, real-time market values and other such information, and also including post-trading transaction amounts, exercise prices and other such data. Third, connection and interactivity. As long as traders are connected with electronic trading systems, their location does not constitute a barrier against whether or not trades should take place; this permits continuous multilateral interaction, and it is possible to make cross-border trade more convenient, and to accelerate convergence of many different market systems.

According to the requirements of the Central Committee and the State Council, Xinhua News Agency has taken the initiative to research and develop the financial information platform “Xinhua 08”, which provides information and trading support services to financial bodies and non-financial enterprises who participate in global financial trading, filling a lacuna for developing countries. At present, “Xinhua 08” closely focuses on the Renminbi market, and has become an important auxiliary project in the progress of Renminbi internationalization. Concerning strengthening discourse power, “Xinhua 08” focuses on expanding the collection power of global financial information, and has successively established financial information collection points in global financial centres; it strives to expand China’s market information communication power, and has established service networks in many languages and for many kinds of terminals aimed at global financial markets, it has the ability to communicate information in all kinds of weathers, and has realized three-dimensional publication for computer terminals, mobile terminals, video terminals, the Internet, the big screen, etc. Through providing Renminbi asset analysis tools and pricing models, as well as Renminbi asset trading support systems, it has raised pricing power over Renminbi assets. In the area of strengthening information security, “Xinhua 08” is a Chinese, highly efficient, reliable and safe system with indigenous intellectual property rights. At present, it can provide dozens of services to users, including information, market quotations, data, analysis, modelling, trading, consulting, publication, individualized services, etc., The indigenously developed Renminbi bond system is, at present, the only analysis system that is able to provide real-time yield curves on Renminbi bonds. 40 indigenously developed financial models are accurate to eight decimal figures, exceeding the accuracy of similar kinds of current products from around the world.

To strengthen national discourse power and information security, apart from concrete measures, it is also necessary to raise the entire society’s levels of understanding and the degree of impotence it receives, to raise the entire people’s financial cultivation, and construct a modern financial system with rational structures, complete functions, which is efficient and safe. In all of this, we must start from spreading financial knowledge. First, we must spread financial knowledge to leading cadres at all levels. Studying financial knowledge and researching financial problems is a necessary form of cultivation for new kinds of leading cadres in new times, and is an urgent requirement to raise their ability to master the market economy. Xinhua has cooperated with the Pudong Cadre Academy to set up the “Xinhua 08” financial laboratory. Since the laboratory opened in 2008, it trained nearly 1000 leading cadres from various levels in total, and became the most demanded laboratory in the Pudong Cadre Academy, second, spreading financial knowledge to the masses. At present, the masses’ enthusiasm to participate in the capital markets and the corresponding lack of financial society in the entire society has become a grave contradiction, which directly influences the speed and quality of capital market development, and threatens the secure operation and healthy development of capital markets. The “Xinhua 08” channel launched a special “financial classroom” column, which invited authoritative experts and scholars from the financial world to explain knowledge, analyse markets, warn about risks, and show opportunities. We have also organized the compilation of the “Xinhua 08 Chinese-English Financial Dictionary” and other such practical reference works that are suited to the Chinese market. Third, spreading financial knowledge to media employees. Which kind of media a country has decides which kind of value system it can build; the overall levels of the media to a certain degree reflect the overall quality of society. In recent years, the proportion of financial and economic reporting has increased among the various kinds of Xinhua reporting. The China Economic Information Agency, the Economic Information Editorial Department and the China Finance Corporation Ltd., which operates “Xinhua 08”, have become China’s largest economic information dissemination bodies. “Economic Reference”, “China Securities News” and “Shanghai Securities News”, which belong to Xinhua News Agency, have become the core forces of China’s financial and economic newspapers and periodicals. Xinhua News Agency has also organized the first economic analyst teams, they provide more than 3000 specialized economic analysis reports per year, which meet with great welcome.

Strengthening national discourse power is not engaging in national discourse hegemony; safeguarding information security is not closing off information. Only if every country has equal discourse power, will there be a globally equal discourse structure; only if every country’s information security can be guaranteed, can global information exchange become smooth and efficient. Strengthening national discourse power and information security, at a global level, and within a global structure, means the abolition of “information discrimination” levelling the “digital divide”, establishing a new, fair and reasonable international financial information communication order, to let capital from the entire world circulate even more rationally, to let global financial markets develop even more healthily, to let even more people from developing countries share in the fruits of information globalization, and in the end, to realize the common flourishing of human society.

经济全球化背景下的国家话语权与信息安全
鲁 炜
在经济全球化背景下,信息革命正通过发挥跨国界、跨组织、跨领域的效力,使世界形势变得复杂。信息流已不再是简单的资讯传播,它引导着资本,左右着市场,决定着交易。谁掌控有效的话语权,谁就掌控信息流动的方向。话语权和信息安全,已成为经济软实力乃至国家软实力的重要标志。

国家话语权和信息安全的含义

“话语”一词最早来源于文化语言学,指借助于语言等符号在言说者和受话人之间进行意义交流。随着时代发展,“话语”的内涵和外延都有了深层次意义上的拓展。“话语”一旦形成,便传达特定的价值观,具有特定的规制,构建特定的知识系统。“权”在法律意义上有“权利”(right)和“权力”(power)双重含义,这意味着“话语权”不仅指说话的权利(right),还要保证说话的有效性和威力(power)。

国家话语权,是一个国家在世界上“说话”的影响力。可分为政治话语权、经济话语权、文化话语权、军事话语权、外交话语权和舆论话语权等。在经济全球化背景下,经济话语权决定了一个国家的影响力,它以金融话语权为核心,涵盖采集力、传播力两个层面。采集力是指能不能根据国家需要实时采集全球各领域的信息,特别是金融市场信息。采集得越及时、越全面,采集力越强,话语权越大。传播力是指一国的声音能不能根据国家利益在全世界实时发布,特别是能否在金融机构和资本要素市场中传播。传播力越强,影响力越广,话语权越大。采集力决定传播力,传播力决定影响力,影响力决定软实力。

信息,是社会发展的重要战略资源,是维持生产活动、经济活动和社会活动的基础,不断推动着全球产业分工深化和经济结构调整,重塑着全球经济竞争格局。当前,专业信息机构的传播渠道主要有两个:一是媒体渠道,包括通讯社、报刊、广播、电视、互联网等大众传媒;二是非媒体渠道,主要指直接面向政府机构、企事业单位、金融机构等媒体之外的传播途径,它不为大众所熟知却直接影响决策。在金融市场传播的信息主要依靠后一渠道。

信息安全,是信息发布、存储和使用过程中的安全程度与状态。也可分为政治信息安全、经济信息安全、文化信息安全、军事信息安全、外交信息安全和舆论信息安全等。在经济全球化背景下,经济信息安全事关国家安全,它以资本市场信息安全为核心,包括内容安全和技术安全两个层面。当前,大规模资本市场交易和资金流动都通过交易平台以网络化的形式实现。片面、虚假、歪曲的信息,会误导资本、扰乱市场;核心技术失控、网络漏洞以及黑客、病毒等都可能使大量财富瞬间化为乌有。没有信息安全,就没有交易安全,就没有金融安全和经济安全,也就没有完全意义上的国家安全。

国家话语权和信息安全密不可分。没有话语权,就不可能实现真正意义上的、可持续的信息安全;没有信息安全,也不可能拥有强大的、有效的话语权。国家话语权的提升是实现信息安全的基础,信息安全的实现为国家话语权提升提供保障。
国家话语权和信息安全的现状

当今世界,国家话语权和信息安全的现状堪忧。信息传播秩序不公平、信息安全被少数国家掌控是主要矛盾。一是信息资源配置不平衡,呈现“二八分立”的格局。全世界20%的人口占有80%的信息资源,80%的人口只享用到20%的信息资源。“信息富有国”和“信息贫穷国”的两极分化严重,“数字鸿沟”不但没有消除,反而在某些区域有加剧之势。二是信息流通不对等。从发达国家流向发展中国家的信息量,比从发展中国家流向发达国家的多出百倍以上,众多发展中国家不能主动、有效地传播自己的信息和及时、充分地分享所需要的信息。三是信息传播秩序不公平、不公正。金融信息的发布主要掌握在少数信息机构手中,他们代表着少数集团的利益,垄断着信息采集、加工、发布、传播的全过程。

西方发达国家凭借在经济、军事、科技等方面的强势,在公开场合动辄以“代言者”的身份出现,使西方话语体系成为世界“流行话语”。流行话语往往潜藏着话语霸权,剥夺了其他国家说话的权利,更谈不上话语的权力。此次国际金融危机爆发的一个重要原因,就是信息采集权被垄断,传播权被控制,风险被隐瞒,真相被掩盖,一个错误的信息流蒙蔽着投资者,把资金带向深渊。金融危机爆发后,发达国家利用强势话语权向其他国家转嫁风险,发展中国家为增强在国际金融体系中的话语权进行着不懈努力。

发展中国家话语权的现状可概括为话语权缺失:传不出去、传出去的被歪曲,采不进来、采进来的靠不住。一是传不出去。如在华尔街一家大型交易所的资讯平台上,某天有关中国的消息只有一条矿难消息在反复滚动。中国当天有价值的资讯肯定不只这一条,但由于没有自己的金融信息平台,客观的资讯传不进全球要素市场,只能由别人按其价值观有选择地传播。二是采不进来。世界主要金融市场的金融信息多被西方信息机构垄断,发展中国家所需数据大多是引用或购买得来的。所有的决策分析都建立在二手数据之上,结果可想而知。2008年,新华社在华尔街设立了金融信息采集点,至今仍是发展中国家在华尔街设立的惟一一个。

发展中国家信息安全的现状可概括为信息安全没保障:缺乏核心技术,缺乏掌控能力。一是缺乏核心技术。金融信息平台的核心技术主要掌握在西方信息机构手中,包括中国在内的发展中国家对其深度依赖。上世纪七八十年代,中国资本市场开始起步,西方一些机构主动将服务终端送给我国的金融机构,在无形中掌握了我国的金融信息安全。二是缺乏掌控能力。国内金融机构长期通过国外的服务终端接收资讯,进行交易,不仅要支付高额服务费,还要屈辱地接受“霸王条款”,何谈掌控能力。如我社在调研中了解到,2004年中航油事件的一个重要原因就是交易过程中存在交易数据的泄漏,中国操盘手遭到对手的联合狙击。国际炒家对我们的情况了如指掌,我们却不清楚对方的情况。

增强国家话语权和信息安全的思考和探索

维护国家话语权和信息安全,关键在于提高国家实力,并通过综合手段实现,包括掌控核心信息技术、完善法律制度体系等等。其中,建设具有自主知识产权的金融信息平台是当务之急。这个平台应当具备以下特点。一是集成性。能够为金融机构等用户提供辐射多种金融产品的综合性金融服务,把在全世界一手采集的交易前的信息收集和分析、交易中的订单递交和执行,到交易后的清算、交割、信息反馈、用户后台支持系统信息处理等全部过程整合在一个系统里面,整个过程可以在几秒内完成。二是规模性和有效性。该系统要大规模地有效传播市场信息,既包括交易前的市场动态、经济社会形势变化、市场实时价格等信息,也包括交易后的交易量、执行价格等数据。三是关联性和交互性。交易者只要和电子交易系统连接,其本身所处何地对交易是否可以进行不构成障碍;允许连续的多方互动,可以方便跨境交易,加速多个市场不同系统间的融合。

按照党中央、国务院的要求,新华社自主研发了金融信息平台“新华08”,为金融机构和非金融企业参与全球金融交易提供资讯和交易支撑服务,填补了发展中国家的空白。“新华08”目前紧紧围绕人民币市场,成为人民币国际化进程的一个重要配套工程。在增强话语权方面,“新华08”着力加大世界金融信息采集力,陆续在世界金融中心设立金融信息采集点;着力加大中国市场信息传播力,建立面向全球金融市场的多语种、多终端形式的服务网络,具备全天候信息传播能力,实现电脑终端、手机终端、视频终端、互联网、大屏幕等立体化发布。通过提供人民币资产分析工具与定价模型、人民币资产交易支撑系统,提高人民币资产定价权。在增强信息安全方面,“新华08”是中国具有自主知识产权的高效、可靠、安全的系统。目前可为用户提供数十项服务,包括资讯、行情、数据、分析、模型、交易、咨询、发布、个性化服务等。自主研发的人民币债券系统是目前惟一能够提供人民币债券实时收益率曲线的分析系统。自主研发的40个金融模型可精确到小数点后8位,超过目前世界同类产品的精确度。

增强国家话语权和信息安全,除了具体措施外,还要提高全社会的认识水平和重视程度,提高全民的金融素质,建设结构合理、功能完善、高效安全的现代金融体系。而这一切,需要从普及金融知识做起。一是向各级领导干部普及金融知识。学习金融知识,研究金融问题,是新时期新型领导干部的必备素质,是提高驾驭市场经济能力的迫切要求。新华社与浦东干部学院合作共建“新华08”金融实验室。实验室自2008年开放以来,累计培训各级领导干部近千人次,成为浦东干部学院最热门的实验室。二是向大众普及金融知识。当前,大众参与资本市场的热情与全社会金融知识的相对匮乏已经构成了严重的矛盾,直接影响到资本市场发展的速度和质量,威胁到资本市场的安全运行和健康发展。“新华08”视频专门开设“金融讲堂”栏目,请金融界权威专家学者讲解知识、分析市场、预警风险、揭示机会。我们还组织编写了《新华08汉英金融词典》等适合中国市场的实用工具书。三是向媒体从业人员普及金融知识。一个国家有什么样的媒体,就会建立什么样的价值观;媒体的整体水平,一定程度上反映了社会的整体素质。近年来,新华社各类报道均加大了财经报道比重。中国经济信息社、经济信息编辑部、“新华08”的运营主体中经社控股有限公司已成为中国最大的经济信息发布机构。新华社所属的《经济参考报》、《中国证券报》、《上海证券报》已成为中国财经报刊的中坚力量。新华社还首次组建了经济分析师队伍,每年提供专业化的经济分析报告3000多篇,广受欢迎。

增强国家话语权,不是搞国家话语霸权;维护信息安全,不是搞信息封闭。只有每个国家都有平等的话语权,才有全世界平等的话语格局;只有每个国家的信息安全都得到保障,全世界的信息流动才能高效顺畅。增强国家话语权和信息安全,在全球视野下,在世界格局中,就是要消除“信息歧视”,填平“数字鸿沟”,建立公平合理的国际金融信息传播新秩序,让全球资本更加理性地流动,让全球金融市场更加健康地发展,让发展中国家更多的人共享信息全球化的成果,最终实现人类社会的共同繁荣。

(作者:新华社副社长)

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