This article was published first in Red Flag Manuscripts on 25 December 2014.
Giving high regard to and vigorously responding to the opportunities and challenges that scientific and technological development has brought to ideological work is an important experience of our Party in grasping the initiative in ideological work. At present, quite a few problems exist in the area of grasping the initiative in ideological work through our use of the newest achievements in information technology, and we are often reduced to a passive, responsive state. When looking at the reasons for this, the most important ones are that we lack foresight about information technology development trends, we often have countermeasures that resemble mending the stable when the sheep have run, and have few precautionary measures. For instance, where supervision and management of blogs, microblogs, WeChat and other communication tools is concerned, or the control on communication of heretical and terrorist videos is concerned, we have lagged behind the pace of information technology development to a substantial degree, and we have even lagged behind Western hostile powers and terrorists using these technologies. Many countermeasures have been taken when technology is already broadly applied, and we only passively respond when this creates a certain harm to us, this not only means that the resulting harm is difficult to avoid, it also increases the costs of response and causes the work of the Party and the government to become bogged down in passivity. The use of information technology advantages and the newest development achievement to engage in infiltration against our country is a long-term strategy of Western countries with the United States in the lead. Because of this, we must strengthen our foresight, acutely perceive the influence of the newest developments in information technology on ideological work, scientifically predict the newest methods that hostile forces may adopt, and establish response measures on a basis of a scientific prediction and correct grasp of technological development trends.
In consideration of setting up a good gambit and grasping the initiative in ideological work, it is at present necessary to pay high attention to the newest developments in Internet construction technology, big data technology, micro-electronics technology, information communication technology, “net-breaking” technology and wireless network attack technology, as well as their influence on ideological security.
First, network construction technology. In March and April of 2014, the American Facebook company and Google company successively purchased solar-powered unmanned aircraft research enterprises, they plan to bring telecommunications equipment into continuous flight at high altitude through large amounts of powerful and continuously flying solar unmanned aircraft, an d build a wireless telecommunications network that covers the entire world. Before, Google’s “Project Loon” used hot-air balloons to “spread” wireless network signals, also based on similar technological considerations. This time, Google purchased solar-powered unmanned aircraft that the Titan Company was planning to produce, these are designed to fly a distance of 4,5 million kilometres under conditions of carrying 113 kilos of payload, the signal coverage of the telecommunications equipment it carries can attain a radius of 80 kilometres (or a surface coverage of 16.800 square kilometres), this telecommunications capacity exceeds that of 100 terrestrial stations. Following the further development of technology, an increase in payload, and the strengthening of signals, coverage will also further expand. If these solar-powered unmanned aircraft loiter around our country’s maritime and terrestrial borders, the scope of their signals will be sufficient to cover a broad area of our coastal and border regions. This will certainly provide new channels to Western foreign hostile forces to conduct ideological infiltration against us, and brings a huge attack against our country’s network surveillance and management. This urgently requires that relevant Party and Government departments jointly take action, and adopt countermeasures against relevant flying machines at our country’s maritime and land borders in a focused manner, make the necessary arrangements in legal and public opinion terms as early as possible, and make sufficient preparations to restrain flight paths, jam signals, etc. On the other hand, we must also develop our own interconnected “Skynet”, and resolve well the problem that distant areas and other regions unsuited to fibre optic cables face in connecting to the network.
Second, big data technology. Big data technology is technology to rapidly obtain valuable information from large amounts of data of all kinds and categories. At present, the total quantity of data worldwide is growing exponentially, the amount of data produced in the past three years exceeds the total sum of all data produced before. Data is becoming an important production factor on par with material capital and human capital, and the ability to use bug data will become one crucial factor in national competitiveness. The US government announced its “Big Data Research and Development Initiative” in March 2012, in order to raise the ability to collect and analyse big data, and strengthen national competitiveness. A number of other countries have also successively put big data on the national strategy level. Obtaining and analysing big data is the basis for the American “Prism” programme. In the big data era, many seemingly unrelated data may become important top-secret data through comprehensive analysis. For instance, the large quantity of data that people generate online records their thoughts, actions and even emotions, and thus contains rich content and much information about patterns. Big data technology has provided seamless methods of producing, exploiting and using information for ideological work, with comprehensive information collection as precondition, and on the basis of processing and comprehensively analysing information to turn it into valid information, conducting analysis, determination, filtering and refinement turns it into valuable information, and so it is possible to arrive at a complete understanding and correct grasp of the targets of ideological work. Because of this, on the one hand, we must strengthen the security protection of our own information, basic network equipment and technology must, as much as possible, use domestically produced equipment and standards; on the other hand, we must realistically grasp the new opportunities brought by this burgeoning area, incessantly follow and research big data, and strengthen the exploitation and use of big data. With big data as a handhold, strengthen scientific analysis of audiences’ characteristics and the determination of public sentiment, in order to strengthen our ability to use mainstream ideology to channel social thinking trends.
Third, micro-electronic technology. Supported by the major breakthroughs achieved in micro-electronic technology, breakthroughs in information technology have developed extremely rapidly in recent years. Now, every chip includes more than a hundred million components, constituting “single-chip systems”, breaking through limits of integrated machines and components, greatly raising the efficiency of information equipment, and spurring the development of electronic equipment in a direction of lightness, smallness, thinness and low power consumption. This has made carriers for the storage and dissemination of large amounts of illegal information ever smaller and their prices ever cheaper, and has greatly strengthened the difficulty of tracking them down. At the same time, it has also stimulated the development of wearable Internet technology with smart glasses as the poster example. The Google glasses, for instance, combine a mobile phone, GPS and camera into one body, the user only has to blink his eyes to take a picture and upload it, or can even directly record and stream a video. Smart watches, smart shoes and other smart wearable equipment will also realize similar functions. In the not-too-distant future, any person will be able to realize influential broadcasts at any time and any place, sudden incidents will be broadcast in real time, and a true self-media era will arrive. We must , as early as possible, formulate standards for smart wearable equipment and promulgate relevant laws and regulations to standardize them, we must implement preventative policy preferences, and block loopholes that may emerge, which influence our ideological security. We must forcefully strengthen the construction of our online credit system, and strengthen supervision and management over social media websites, video websites and other information dissemination platforms. We must especially strengthen supervision and management over self-media, new media, such as WeChat, conduct information communication on the basis of “private relationships” (mobile phone address books) and “private spaces” (QQ friends), their communication channels are “secret”, it is difficult to supervise and control this, there is a flood of false, malicious and negative information, and following the rapid development of portable electronic equipment, this problem will become ever more prominent, we must adopt powerful measures as soon as possible.
Fourth, information transmission technology. Information transmission is a main artery to sustain the regular operation of the social system. In scientific experiments, the network transmission speed can already reach 339GB per second. In real-world applications, it is estimated that a speed of 10GB per second for cable networks will be commercialized by 2020. In the area of wireless networks, 4TG technology is already becoming widespread, and it is estimated that the transmission speed of 5G technology that will be produced in 2020 will be ten to a hundred times that of 4G, and can reach 10 GB per second. The increase of information transmission speed provides conveniences for hostile powers to engage in ideological infiltration, and large amounts of illegal information can be spread with great ease. This requires us to, on the one hand, sing the main melody through strengthening content construction, communication channel construction and mobile entry control; on the other hand, we must strengthen management over information sources and online service providers.
Fifth, “net-breaking” technology. “Net-breaking” mainly refers to surmounting blocks on websites by network supervision and management through certain technological measures and browsing foreign web pages, it is also known as “jumping the Wall”. Our country’s domestic “East Turkestan” violent terrorists, and Falun Gong elements use “net-breaking” software, where they obtain technologies to commit crimes, remain in contact and raise funds. Hostile forces do everything they can to research “net-breaking” technology and to disseminate it on a large scale, the US State Department once specially allocated 1,5 million dollars to support corresponding programmes. Now, there are also some people who peddle “net-breaking” technologies online on a large scale for economic profit, they peddle routers with added corresponding functions, and connect to foreign-provided for-payment proxy services. Against this situation, we must on the one hand continue to improve and perfect network surveillance and management measures, enhance surveillance and management technology, and build effective and useful “filter nets” and “firewalls”; on the other hand, we must adopt powerful measures to cut off the profit chain of “net-breaking” software.
Sixth, wireless network attack technologies. The development of the US army’s wireless network attack programme “Shoot” demands our high attention. The “Shoot” programme essentially uses wireless methods to invade the opponent’s information networks, the opponent is thrown into chaos through false and deceptive information, or control is even taken over. In 2001, the US Army started researching this, and put it into actual combat repeatedly afterwards. In the 2007 Israel attacks on Syrian nuclear infrastructure in “Operation Orchard”, and in the 2011 war in Libya, “Shoot” played an important role, and the information networks of the opponent were invaded successfully. Wireless network attacks mean that information systems physically separated from the Internet can no longer sleep easy. We must strengthen our information security protection, adopt Internet technology with even higher security levels, strive to raise our ability to monitor cyber attacks and our ability to rapidly recover, and ensure that information systems can play a regular role in extreme circumstances.
General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that: “Since ancient times, science and technology have driven the progress and development of human society through an irreversible and irresistible force.” Following the comprehensive and rapid development of information technology, ideology work will face many new circumstances and problems, these require our high attention and vigorous response, and measures must be adopted in all areas. Generally speaking, the following areas are the most fundamental.
First, we must realistically establish the idea of “big propaganda” work. Ideological work is a systematic project with a strong political nature, the matters it involves are extensive, and its influence is great, it requires comprehensive planning and strengthened cooperation, and it requires joint action from many side and participation from all. We must realistically strengthen communication and cooperation between propaganda departments and science and technology research and development, social management and military functional departments, strengthen the construction of coordinated operational mechanisms, with Party Committee propaganda departments in the lead, regularly convene joint conferences, organize responsible comrades from all departments to analyse circumstances and tasks, strengthen exchange and communication, and clearly define all departments’ focus work points and direction of efforts through pooling wisdom; we must establish a line of comprehensive talent teams who are excellent in both technological and propaganda matters, and strengthen circulation of staff in positions, propaganda department cadres must go to science and technology departments to understand and become acquainted with the situation, science and technology workers must regularly go to propaganda departments to participate in work, to truly realize that work is merged, resources are shared, and there is win-win in development.
Second, we must strengthen advance research and deployment. Now, some of our relevant departments have become used to researching or explaining events that have already occurred, this sort of work thinking and model is unsuited to the development model of industry and technology, and is an important cause resulting in passivity in our work. The development model of information technology requires that we must strengthen advance research. Information technology is characterized by leaps in development. In the area of information technology, in 10-15 years at the shortest or 20-30 years at the longest, information technology will see sudden and disruptive change. For instance, the digital camera has replaced the traditional film camera, the Internet has replaced traditional telecommunications networks, USB drives have replaced floppy disks, the rapid development of mobile Internet, etc., have all brought extremely profound influence to the work and living methods of people. If we do not forecast the ladder-type transition of information technology and its influence in advance, we will be reduced to a passive state. Because of this, we suggest the establishment of a specialized advance research body for ideology work, to be allocated with specialist personnel to engage in corresponding work, this will expand our strength to research the influence of scientific and technological development trends on the ideological area, effectively use the newest information technology achievements, and respond to new challenges.
Third, we must strive to raise our ability for indigenous innovation of information technology. According to statistics, 82% of servers, 73,9% of storage equipment, 95,6% of operating systems and 91,7% of databases in our country’s government departments and major industries are foreign products. In the construction of national key information infrastructure, an impression of the “Eight Big American King Kongs” (Cisco, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Intel, Apple and Oracle) has emerged. From the exposure of the “Prism” programme, we can see that these companies have extremely deep links with the US National Security Administration. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that: “without cybersecurity, there is no national security and without informatization, there is no modernization”. We must raise our ability for indigenous innovation of information technology, accelerate the research of crucial hardware and software products that are needed for our country’s information systems; we must provide policy support to indigenous brands, assist domestically produced software and hardware to break through the situation that foreign mainstream firms have monopolies; we must further perfect the government procurement law, establish information product security assessment systems, give preference to indigenous and controllable domestically produced information products when procuring crucial software and hardware, provide technological support to our country’s ideological work, and thoroughly end the situation of passivity and being controlled by others in the area of information security.
Fourth, we must correctly grasp the changes in information communication methods. At present, the main channel through which people obtain news information has shifted from newspapers and magazines, radio and television, PC Internet and other such traditional media to smartphones, tablet computers, e-readers and other mobile terminals. Following the development of information technology, this sort of digitized reading tendencies will become ever clearer, and increasingly develop fast food, skimming and fragmentation properties. Some people accuse digital reading of being like looking at the grass from a running horse, and of being insufficiently sincere. But if digital reading is integrated with sound, image and many other methods, it is possible to make information much more lively in form, and provide many sensory treats to readers, this conforms to the basic essence of mass popular culture and consumer culture, and conforms to the demands of people in current-day society, it has become the main reading method for the majority of people. We must give high attention to the construction and use of new media, actively seek the new and seek change in discourse structures, methods of expression, communication methods and other such areas, strive to forge a discourse circulating at home and abroad, that suits both refined and popular tastes, and is easy for the masses to accept, we must ensure that the Party’s voice is even richer in the characteristics of the times and that the masses love to see and hear it. We must strive to satisfy the people’s incessantly growing individualized and pluralized reading demands, and we must especially guide the reading tastes of young readers to higher planes, and prevent the spread of “over-entertainment culture” and other vulgar tendencies among younger readers.
(Authors’ work unit: National Defence University Research Centre for the Theory and System of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics)
三是微电子技术。在微电子技术取得重大突破的支撑下, 近年来信息技术突飞猛进发展。现在每个芯片上包含上亿个元件，构成了“单片上的系统”，打破了整机与元器件的界限，极大地提高了信息设备的效能，并促使电子设备向轻、小、薄和低功耗方向发展。这使大容量非法信息的存储和播放载体体积越来越小，价格越来越便宜，极大地增加了查获难度。同时,也促进了以智能眼镜为代表的互联网穿戴设备的发展。以谷歌眼镜为例，其集智能手机、GPS、相机于一身，用户只要眨眨眼就能拍照上传，甚至直接拍摄视频上传。智能手表、智能鞋等智能穿戴设备也可以实现类似功能。在不久的将来，任何人都能够随时随地实施影像传播，突发事件将会实现同步转播，真正的自媒体时代即将来临。我们要尽早制定智能穿戴设备标准、出台有关法规予以规范，实施防范政策预置，堵塞可能出现的影响我意识形态安全的漏洞。要大力加强网络诚信体系建设，加强对社交网站、视频网站等信息发布平台的监管。尤其要加强对自媒体的监管，以微信为代表的新媒介基于“私人关系”（手机通讯录）和“私人空间”（QQ朋友）进行信息传播，传播渠道 “私密”，监控困难，虚假、恶意、负面信息泛滥，随着便携电子设备的快速发展，这一问题将会更加突出，我们要尽快采取有力措施。