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China's Law-Based Cyberspace Governance in the New Era

The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China March 2023

China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-17 07:17

VI. Increasing International Exchanges and Cooperation in Law-Based Cyberspace Governance

Cyberspace is a shared activity space for all of humanity. All countries around the globe share the same desire to develop the digital economy; all face the same challenges posed by cybersecurity threats and have the same need for strengthening cyberspace governance.

China is fully engaged in international exchanges and cooperation in the field of law-based governance of cyberspace. Upholding independence, equality, and mutual respect, it joins with other countries to reform the global cyberspace governance system, to ensure that all countries share the opportunities and fruits brought by the development of the internet, and to jointly build a community with a shared future in cyberspace.

1. Playing an Active Role in Rule Making

China is committed to international fairness and justice. It resolutely safeguards the international system with the United Nations at its core, and the international order with international law as its foundation, and upholds the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It supports the participation of all countries in global cyberspace governance on an equal footing, and in laying down international cyberspace rules that are universally accepted.

China supports the UN's role as the main channel in international cyberspace governance. It supports the UN effort to formulate a global-level cybercrime convention, has pushed for the General Assembly to adopt a resolution to establish an open-ended ad hoc intergovernmental committee of experts, and has played a constructive role in the negotiations on a convention. It calls on the international community to reach agreement on an authoritative and universal convention at the earliest possible time to lay a legal foundation for the battle against cybercrime. China values the UN's key role in responding to international information security threats, and together with other Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states it submitted the original International Code of Conduct for Information Security to the UN General Assembly, and an updated version in 2015. It launched the Global Data Security Initiative, and issued the China-League of Arab States Cooperation Initiative on Data Security together with the League of Arab States in March 2021, and the Data Security Cooperation Initiative of China+Central Asia together with five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) in June 2022, which provide a blueprint for developing global data security rules. China encouraged the UN to draw up a framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace, making clear that the principles of international law — such as equal sovereignty, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-use of force, non-interference in other countries' domestic affairs — are also applicable in cyberspace, and that impartial global security standards for the supply chain of information technology products should be formulated. It has expanded its cyberspace cooperation with the UN's special organizations, taken an active part in formulating UNESCO's Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, and conducted extensive cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization in formulating domain name rules and settling disputes in this field.

Taking an active part in the formulation of regional cyberspace governance rules. China signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, under which the 15 member states including China laid down regional rules regarding electronic signature and electronic authentication, online consumer protection, online personal information protection, cybersecurity, cross-border transfer of information by electronic means, and intellectual property right protection. Its e-commerce chapter is by some margin the world's most extensive and most used set of e-commerce rules. China has also taken vigorous steps to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, in order to participate in the formulation of high-standard rules in the digital economy.

2. Conducting Extensive Exchanges and Cooperation

As a longstanding supporter of international exchanges and cooperation in the rule of law in cyberspace, China takes part in dialogues, negotiations, exchanges, and mutual learning with other countries. It continues to expand and strengthen the network of global partnerships based on equality, openness, and cooperation, and to promote international cyberspace governance that is driven by common progress and designed for shared benefit.

Engaging in bilateral and multilateral dialogues and exchanges in law-based cyberspace governance. China has established the Sino-Russian Information Security Consultation Mechanism, China-EU Taskforce, China-ASEAN Cyber Dialogue Mechanism, and China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Cyber Consultation Mechanism, and co-hosted the 2019 China-Germany Dialogue on the Internet Economy, China-UK Internet Roundtable, China-ROK Internet Roundtable, China-Cuba Internet Development Forum, and China-Brazil Internet Governance Seminar. Through these pragmatic exchanges, it has worked with other countries on cyber policies, laws, regulations, and governance experience. It has responded promptly to the concerns of various parties, and settled disputes through negotiation on an equal footing. It has signed cybersecurity cooperation memorandums with countries including Thailand and Indonesia to strengthen exchanges and sharing in cybersecurity policies, laws and regulations, and to jointly build capacity in cybersecurity.

Increasing international law enforcement and judicial cooperation on cybersecurity. China has reached agreements on cybersecurity with many other countries and carried out in-depth and pragmatic cooperation in fighting cyberterrorism and telecom and online fraud. To combat cyberterrorism, China has increased cooperation with other countries through joint counterterrorism maneuvers, joint border defense operations, and police and judicial cooperation to meet threats and challenges and safeguard world peace and regional stability. In fighting telecom and online fraud, China has strengthened law enforcement and judicial cooperation with other countries, investigated major cross-border cases, and achieved substantial results. Between March and June 2022, 76 countries including China took part in an operation codenamed First Light 2022 initiated by the International Criminal Police Organization, with some 2,000 suspects arrested and some US$50 million worth of illicit funds intercepted, which effectively curbed transnational social engineering scams.

Jointly protecting the rights and interests of minors in cyberspace. China cooperates with the United Nations Children's Fund, the International Association of Internet Hotlines, and other international organizations, and relevant departments of the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and other countries to fight online child pornography. As a member of WeProtect Global Alliance, China works with other member governments, companies and civil society organizations — totaling more than 200 — to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse online and create a safer cyber environment for children.

3. Creating Platforms for Dialogue

As a responsible major country, China has made great efforts to build a global platform promoting connectivity between China and the rest of the world, and a Chinese platform for the global internet to be shared and governed by all. It has played an active role in promoting connections, understanding, and mutual trust in the rule of law in cyberspace between different countries.

Hosting the world internet conferences for exchanging ideas on the rule of law in cyberspace. Every year since 2014, China has hosted the World Internet Conference, attended by representatives from governments, international organizations, internet companies, think tanks, industry associations, and technology communities. The organizing committee of the conference released a concept document named Jointly Build a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, which calls for "respecting sovereignty in cyberspace" and points out that "the principle of sovereign equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations is a basic norm governing contemporary international relations. It covers all aspects of state-to-state relations, and should likewise apply to cyberspace." The organizing committee also launched the Initiative on Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace, proposing that "international exchanges and cooperation should be advanced in the fields of data security, personal information protection and relevant rules and standards, and efforts should be made to promote mutual recognition among countries on rules and standards on personal information protection in line with the purposes of the UN Charter." China has shared experience in legislation on the protection of minors, combated cybercrimes and cyberbullying targeted at minors, and further improved mechanisms for combating cybercrimes and cyberterrorism. It has supported and taken an active part in negotiations under the framework of the United Nations on the global convention against cybercrimes, and coordinated work on legislation and practices in different countries in a joint effort to tackle the threats of cybercrimes and cyberterrorism.

Panel 8 The International Organization of the World Internet Conference

China initiated the international organization of the World Internet Conference in 2022, with the goal of building a global internet platform featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution, and sharing of benefits. By promoting sharing of benefits through practical cooperation, it aims to identify strong points and contribute ideas to global internet governance. Institutes, organizations, enterprises, and individuals engaging in the internet from nearly 20 countries in six continents have now joined the organization as founding members.

Building multi-form, multi-channel and multi-tiered international platforms to exchange views, experience and practices on law-based cyberspace governance including legislation, law enforcement, judicial work, and public legal education. China organizes this through many multilateral platforms like the BRICS cooperation mechanism, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, and ASEAN Regional Forum. It hosted the World Forum on Rule of Law in Internet, and released the Wuzhen Declaration at the event, building a bridge for sharing experience, increasing understanding, and learning from each other in cyberspace justice. China supports industry associations of the internet to build international exchange platforms such as the China Internet Governance Forum, discussing such issues as digital inclusion and data governance. These platforms have promoted common understanding among Chinese and foreign internet communities, and facilitated joint solutions to the problems obstructing the development of the internet. China encourages Chinese experts and academics to attend academic forums and symposiums, conduct intellectual exchanges, and share research fruits with their foreign counterparts in frontier research on the digital economy, data security, governance of artificial intelligence, and other related matters.


Based on its own realities, and learning from other countries' experience, China has created a cyberspace governance model with distinct Chinese characteristics. On the new journey towards a modern socialist country, China will always be committed to all-round law-based governance of the country and of cyberspace. It will promote the lawful, orderly and healthy development of the internet in China, safeguard the high-quality development of a digital China under the rule of law, and provide a solid legal guarantee for building up China's strength in cyberspace.

The internet benefits the whole world. China champions the interests of the peoples of all countries in promoting the development and prosperity of cyberspace in accordance with the law. The rule of law in cyberspace is an important tool of digital governance, and a marker of digital progress. Facing the opportunities and challenges brought about by digitalization, China will follow the global governance principle of achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration, and work together with the international community to ensure global cyberspace governance is law-based, and that digital progress will deliver greater benefit to the people. China stands ready to partner with all other countries to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace and create a better world.


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