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.