This article was published in People’s Daily and reposted on the website of the Cyberspace Administration of China. It was kindly translated by Lincoln Davidson, who researches Chinese cyber policy.
By Zhuang Rongwen
July 28, 2016
Since the Party’s 18th Party Congress, under Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, Party Central has placed a high level of importance on cybersecurity and informatization work, establishing the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, pronouncing the major conclusion that “without cybersecurity there can be no national security,” and drawing up the grand blueprint for constructing a cyber superpower. As the guiding document of the next ten years of our nation’s informatization development, the National Informatization Development Strategic Outline (hereafter, “the Strategic Outline”) concentrates and embodies Party Central’s new thinking, new conclusions, and new deployments since the 18th Party Congress, sounding the clarion call of the times for walking the road of informatization development with Chinese characteristics and constructing a cyber superpower, launching the new journey of China’s informatization development.
- Fully Recognize the Major Significance of the Launch of the National Informatization Development Strategic Outline
As General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out, from the perspective of the history of social development, humanity has experienced the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and is currently experiencing the information revolution. The information revolution brings another qualitative leap to the forces of production, and its impact on politics, economics, culture, society, the environment, military affairs, and other domains becomes more profound day by day. Drawing up and launching the Strategic Outline is an important action in constructing a cyber superpower and grasping the historical opportunity of the information revolution, and has major significance for realizing the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Launching the Strategic Outline is the strategic choice of seizing the opportunity of the information revolution. Our nation was once a world economic power; after the industrial revolution took place in Europe and the world underwent deep transformations, we lost the historical opportunity to keep pace with the world, and gradually became passive and took a beating. Currently, whether we can correctly recognize, use, and develop the internet; seize the historical opportunity of the information revolution, this era’s transformation; and relate these to realizing the Two Centenary Goals is a major test of the Party’s governing capacity. As the General Secretary has emphasized, this is an important historical opportunity for the Chinese nation that we must firmly grasp; this is a historic responsibility of our generation to both our forebears and our successors. In the world today, informatization is developing rapidly, and if we do not advance, or advance slowly, we will fall behind. Looking around the world, every country is currently planning informatization development blueprints, making the major strategic choice to build information superiority to seek the initiative in development, centered on conducting strategic moves to strengthen informationized capabilities, mold new long-term competitive advantages, and contest the authority to write the rules for the new game. Developed countries and areas have fully consolidated their dominant position in the information domain. The United States is pushing forward implementation of their cyberspace strategy and arranging their industrial internet. The European Union has accelerated the pace of construction of their single digital economy. Germany has proposed Industry 4.0. For developing countries and areas to adapt to the current of the information revolution, we must seize the opportunity of international industrial transformation and division of labor and use informatization to promote transformation and development. Looking at the whole globe, whoever grasps the opportunities brought by the information revolution and occupies the commanding heights of informatization can seize the crucial moment, win superiority, win security, and win the future. The General Secretary has pointed out, “History has never waited for those who hesitate, watch from the sidelines, or are lazy and weak. Only those who keep pace with history, whose destinies are tied to the era, can win a bright future.” Launching the Strategic Outline is establishing a firm foundation for seizing the opportunities of the information revolution, using advantages to act, seizing opportunities to advance, and marching together to realize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Launching the Strategic Outline is a pressing requirement of informatization driving modernization. The General Secretary has pointed out that without informatization, there can be no modernization, that the cyber and information undertaking represents the new productive forces and new direction of development, and should advance in line with the new development concept. Following the constant increase in the speed of integration of informatization into every domain, informatization has permeated politics, economics, culture, society, the environment, and every other area. Informatization is no longer just a tool, but has become the “blood” that state governance, economic development, and social movement cannot be separated from. Especially currently, as our country’s economic development enters a new normal, and recognizing, adapting to, and leading the way in the new normal becomes the major logic of our country’s economic development now and in the future. The General Secretary has pointed out that in the new normal, we must have new power, and the internet can play a major role in this area. Only with flows of information carrying flows of technology, capital, talent, and materials, bringing out informatization’s role in leading and propelling, can we promote the optimization of resource distribution, promote the upgrading of the essential factors of productivity, advance innovative development, transformative economic development methods, and adjust our economic structure. Launching the Strategic Outline is making informatization run through the entire course of our country’s modernization, unleashing the massive potential of informationized development, making informatization benefit society and the more than 1.3 billion Chinese people.
Launching the Strategic Outline is the inevitable choice for realizing the shift from major internet country to cyber superpower. Since the 18th Party Congress, under the staunch leadership of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs and the joint effort of every region, agency, and society, our country’s informatization development has made massive achievements. By the end of 2015, our country had 688 million internet users, 4.23 million websites, and our electronic and information manufacturing industry had grown to 11.1 trillion RMB, forming a comparatively excellent information industry system. We have constructed the largest broadband network in the world, with 470 million fixed broadband access points, covering every city, township, and 95 percent of administrative villages in China. Our mobile telecommunications industry experienced the blank space of 1G, the 2G follow-on, the 3G breakthrough, keeping pace with 4G, and is moving quickly towards the next stage of leading 5G. The scale of our country’s electronic and information manufacturing industry, internet retail transactions, number of internet users, and broadband users are the first in the world. We have already become a large internet country not just in name, but in reality. However, being a large internet country does not equal being a cyber superpower. Compared to the advanced level of the world and the strategic target of constructing a cyber superpower, we face a large gap in many areas. In particular, core technologies are still under others’ control and a secure and controllable industrial ecology has not yet taken shape; there are outstanding problems related to informatization development across regions and industries being unequal and uncoordinated; development and use of information resources remains insufficient and there continues to be disorder and misuse; the digital dividend has not been fully unleashed; there are still mechanical barriers to the cultivation, assessment, motivation, and use of human capital; our international discourse power and influence in cyberspace has not yet been upgraded; etc. Launching the Strategic Outline is the strategic objective centering on constructing a cyber superpower, patching up our weaknesses in informatization development capabilities, striving to occupy the strategic heights of competition, and firmly grasping the initiative of development in our own hands.
- The Major Tasks in the Next Ten Years of Informatization Development
Informatization concerns national security and national development, as well as the work and lives of the vast masses of the people. The Strategic Outline thoroughly analyzes the basic situation of our national informatization development; clearly defines the guiding thinking, strategic objectives, basic policies and major tasks of informatization development; proposes thoroughly studying and implementing the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of important speeches; circles closely around the “Five-in-One” overall plan and the “Four Comprehensives” strategic plan; firmly establishes the innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development concept; implements development thinking that puts the people at the center; brings the domestic and international plans together; plans the two major issues of development and security together; insists on walking the road of informationized development with Chinese characteristics; and strives to advance in line with the new development concept. The Strategic Outline proposes that by 2020, the ubiquity of households with fixed broadband connections is at the level of a medium developed nation, a portion of our core technology domains have reached an internationally advanced level, the international competitiveness of our information industry has been substantially upgraded, and informatization has become the guiding force of the construction of modernization. By 2025, we will realize the strategic goal of being technologically advanced, having developed industries, being at the front of application, and being invulnerable in cybersecurity. By mid-century, informatization will comprehensively support the construction of a rich, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious modern socialist state, our position as a cyber superpower will be more consolidated day by day, and we will play an even larger role in leading global informatization development. The Strategic Outline proposes a 24-character policy of “advancing according to an overall plan, innovative leadership, driving development, benefiting the people’s welfare, win-win cooperation, and guaranteeing security”; clearly defines the main theme as informatization driving modernization; makes constructing a cyber superpower the goal; and proposes three major strategic tasks of strengthening informatization development capacity, improving our level of informatization application, and optimizing the informatization development environment, which complement each other, all constituting an organic whole of informatization development.
With construction of a cyber superpower as our goal, we will vigorously increase our informatization development capability. Technology, infrastructure, content, human resources, and international discourse power are the crucial elements of constructing a cyber superpower, as well as the core contents of comprehensively increasing our informatization development capability. With regard to the technology industry, the main point is grasping the three major advantageous conditions of the accelerating generational change in global information technology, our country’s complete technology industry base, and the advantages of our major power market and system, to systematize innovation to make up for specific technological weaknesses, accelerate our acquisition of breakthroughs in core microchips, basic software, high-end servers, smart hardware, and other key domains, construct an internationally-leading technology system and industrial ecosystem, and realize the strategic transformation of catching up to running alongside to taking the lead. With regard to infrastructure, building a widely-available, integrated, smart, and secure information infrastructure and realizing three-dimensional coverage in land, air, sea, and space is our new strategic direction; our major task is to create a joint, comprehensive, and overall plan to create an information network that unifies heaven and earth, advance the industrialization of Beidou and the going out process, optimize and upgrade our broadband network, and develop a farsighted plan, while simultaneously increasing the level of universal services and using the internet to create conditions for social groups facing difficulties. With regard to information resources, the main point is strengthening information resource planning, construction, and management to establish a basic system, raise our information resource development and use level, upgrade our state information capability, and construct a state information superiority. With regard to human resources, the main point is, in the process of training leading talent, cultivating professional talent, discovering special talent, and upgrading our nationals’ information and technical skills, gathering and deploying excellent talent from all under heaven to provide powerful support to the development of the cyber and information undertaking. With regard to international discourse power, the main point is the four important tasks of implementing and deepening cooperation and exchange, participating in drawing up rules, expanding our development space, and jointly constructing a new order in cyberspace.
With informatization driving modernization as the main theme, we should strive to upgrade our informatization application level. General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out, “Without informatization there can be no modernization.” In accordance with the “Five-in-One” overall plan, the Strategic Outline clearly defines the informatization development tasks in the construction domains of economics, politics, culture, society, and ecological civilization. In the economic domain, the main point is cultivating the information economy, advancing the integrated innovation of the internet and 1-2-3 industries, promoting regionally coordinated development, and emphasizing construction of new-type business infrastructure and optimization of the policy environment, with the goal of unearthing force for growth and promoting transformation and development. In the political domain, the main point is the deployment of implementing comprehensive deepening of reforms, deepening e-governance application, resolving information fragmentation, application misalignment, service isolation, and other issues, using informatization to advance the modernization of the state governance system and governance capacity. In the cultural domain, the main point is insisting on correct public opinion guidance, promoting the main theme, making the internet an important vector for promoting positive energy, and proposing requirements from the four aspects of online culture of supply capability, dissemination capability, front construction, and dissemination order. In the social domain, the main point is optimizing the distribution of resources, reducing the application of capital, increasing the informatization level of the education, healthcare, employment, and social protection domains, providing needed, useable, and useful information services to the people, especially deploying and implementing the internet poverty alleviation action plan to ensure accurate poverty alleviation. In the ecological civilization domain, the main point is to have some achievements in innovative resource management and use methods, and to construct a new-type ecological environment governance system. To adapt to the new changes in the national security situation, new trends in information technology development, and new requirements for the goal of having a strong military, the Strategic Outline makes arrangements for an information strong military and construction of a modern military force system.
To implement comprehensive advances in the general requirement of rule of law, we must constantly optimize the informatization development environment. As General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out, “Without cybersecurity, there can be no national security.” At the same time as the internet has benefited humanity, it has also put forward new challenges to the development of human society. When it’s used well, it is Alibaba’s treasure cave; when it’s misused, it’s Pandora’s Box. We must implement comprehensive advances in the general requirement of rule of law, incorporating informatization development into the conventions of rule of law, strengthening governance of the cyber ecosystem, earnestly upholding cybersecurity, effectively preventing, controlling, and resolving the dangers that may be produced over the course of informatization’s progress. We must advance construction of informationized rule of law, express the leading and advancing role of legislation, accelerate establishment with cyber legislation as the main point, with advancing development and maintaining security as the goal, with network infrastructure, network service providers, network users, and network information as the main targets of the basic legal framework. We must strengthen network ecology governance, insist on the general requirement of positive energy and the hard logic of manageability, and by means of implementing and strengthening internet management, shaping governance mechanisms for all of society, protecting citizens rights and other work, make cyberspace bright and clear. We must protect the security of cyberspace, insist on protecting cyber sovereignty and national security, guarantee the security of critical information infrastructure, strengthen our work in related infrastructure, and by means of security guaranteeing development and development promoting security, strive to establish the strength for long-term stability and mature governance.
- Ensuring the National Informatization Strategy Is Put Into Effect
With the blueprints drawn up and our mission defined, fierce implementation is crucial. Every locality and agency should earnestly implement the Strategic Outline and ensure that the National Informatization Strategy is put into effect.
We must strengthen overall planning and coordination. Under the concentrated, unified leadership of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, we must coordinate between the center and the localities, coordinate between the strength of the Party, the government, and the military, coordinate the roles of the market and the government, coordinate staged targets and long-term targets, and coordinate the major questions of informatization in every domain, to ensure that national informatization is comprehensively coordinated for sustainable, healthy development.
We must strengthen resource integration. Expressing the political advantages of the socialist system for concentrating power to do big things and facing the major demands of national informatization development, we must strengthen coordination and joint operation between technology, industry, taxation, finance, and major policies, use good steel for the blade of the knife, form a strong fist, and make concentrated breakthroughs. Smashing the boundaries between agencies and reducing the barriers between localities, we must advance joint construction and enjoyment of information infrastructure, advance the orderly release of public information resources, and improve the quality and effectiveness of national informatization development.
We must strengthen breaking down problems into their details. According to the requirements drawn up in the main points of the 13th Five Year Plan, we must incorporate the Strategic Outline into the 13th Five Year Plan National Informatization Plan, and by implementing a series of major programs, tasks, and projects, actually implement the Strategic Outline in detail and at the smallest level, with every locality and agency, according to the division of labor and their specific tasks, shaping the list of work into specific programs, clearly arranging the schedule of their progress and advancing from one growth stage to the next.
We must strengthen supervision and inspection. According to the requirements of the Strategic Outline, we must establish and implement supervisory mechanisms, increase the strength of informatization work performance appraisals, establish and perfect the informatization statistics and quota system, strengthen informatization statistical monitoring and evaluation work, and organize and develop annual review and performance assessment of strategic implementation.
We should tightly come together around Party Central with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary, deeply implement and study the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s series of important speeches, earnestly implement every part of the Strategic Outline, drive modernization with informatization, be frontrunners on the road of the new development concept, be the vanguard in implementing the development thought of the people as the center, and provide forceful information support to realize the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation.
(The author is the vice director of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs.)