Cyberspace can’t be safe haven for criminals of any nation

By Zhao Minghao Source:Global Times Published: 2015-12-16 23:38:01

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The second World Internet Conference is currently being held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the conference for the first time and delivered a keynote speech. "Cyberspace is the common space of mankind. The future of cyberspace should be in the hands of all nations. Countries should step up communication, broaden consensus and deepen cooperation," Xi said. He highlighted the "common community of destiny," a keyword to understand the strategic mind-set of the top Chinese leadership.

Xi used to be secretary of the CPC committee of Zhejiang. He witnessed and promoted China's e-commerce. Currently, China has 670 million netizens and 4.13 million websites. The Internet has reached into every way of life. In 2014, the Internet contributed to 7 percent of the country's GDP.

Foreign enterprises also benefit from China's Internet economic development. A report released by Amazon China showed that from January to October this year, Chinese consumers spent as much on Amazon sites as they had in the last 20 years combined. The growth of Chinese middle class and their desire for consumption help boost employment abroad.

China, which has the highest number of netizens in the world and the biggest production base for electric goods, should take the lead in the global Internet sphere. The fifth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee put making China an Internet power at the national strategic level.

This means China will increase investment in the Internet economy. For instance, to narrow the economic gap brought about by information disparity, China is implementing the "Broadband China" initiative. By 2020, the broadband networks will cover almost all rural areas of the country to ensure more people access to the Internet.

Meanwhile, China will share Internet development opportunities with the world. China has enhanced cooperation with a number of countries such as Kazakhstan. It aims to boost the world's trade and investment as well as digital economic development through cross-border e-commerce and information economy demonstration zones.

China hopes to enhance its discourse power in the cyber sphere and take more part in international rule-making. Xi has stressed several times that cyberspace belongs to all humanity and the future of cyberspace should be decided by all countries. China insists that the governance of international cyberspace should take a multilateral approach, with coordination from other entities such as government, international organizations, Internet enterprises and individual citizens.

A recent study by PWC shows that last year, China suffered an increase of 517 percent in cyber attacks and the losses of Chinese enterprises were increased by 10 percent. China has become a major victim of cyber attacks and espionage. No matter whether commercial espionage or hacking government websites, such crimes should be dealt with in accordance with laws and international conventions.

In early December, the first China-US ministerial dialogue on fighting cyber crimes was held in Washington. Beijing and Washington are joining hands to enter a new phase of progress through bilateral law-enforcement cooperation on cyber security.

Cyberspace should not become a safe heaven for criminals. Amid the increasing complex global situation, cyberspace should never become a new strategic frontier for rivalry among big powers as it is bound to be a game where no side wins.

Xi has sent a clear signal to the world that China will take a more active part in the global Internet governance. China made enormous contribution at the just concluded Paris climate summit. It will display indispensable leadership in cyber governance.

The author is a research fellow at the Charhar Institute and an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

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