China proposes practical way to clean networks

When Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed at a digital governance forum in Beijing on Tuesday that all efforts to protect data security must be based on facts and rules, rather than politics and double standard, it is well-known to which party his words were addressed.

In an interview with the media last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rehashed his allegation that the Communist Party of China is stealing data from US citizens, which the US administration is taking all-out efforts to prevent. As customary, he offered no evidence to support his charges.

As Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying observed, the top US diplomat has lived up to his admission with regard to the US Central Intelligence Agency – “we lie, we cheat, we steal” – as he “lies every day” about China, and he lacks any integrity as there is plenty of evidence from various sources showing the US administration has never refrained from using its technological advantages to spy on citizens and organisations at home and abroad alike.

And China’s telecommunications giant Huawei and ByteDance, the developer of the popular short-video sharing app TikTok, leaders in their fields, have become mouthwatering prey for a US administration keen to get “a cut” from the enforced transfer of their US operations to US companies.

The so-called clean network campaign now being promoted by Washington, which Pompeo vowed last month to roll out soon, has nothing to do with “cleanness”. It is merely a pretense for the US to reset the rules governing cyberspace in a bid to reorder the cyber-related industries by putting foreign companies under its thumb or bifurcating cyberspace.

The Global Initiative on Data Security, which Wang unveiled at the forum emphasising rules-based multilateral cyber governance, is a counter to the US administration’s high-handed technological avarice. With the US administration cajoling other countries to join its discriminatory cyber cleansing, China’s proposal of fair and inclusive global standards for data security is both timely and practical.

While the US fears and seeks to prevent a virtual “Sputnik moment” that this time around might see it unable to catch up, China is proposing a series of technical and legal details related to data security – ranging from banning long-arm jurisdiction to closing all backdoor in software and hardware – to establish fair and inclusive global standards.

The initiative is comparable to a summary of the major pitfalls encountered so far, and represents China’s contribution to a blueprint for protecting data security, promoting the digital economy and advancing global digital governance.

It will also act as a test paper, as countries’ responses will indicate whether they are acting transparently in cyberspace.