Commentary: "Shared and governed by all" only way for Internet to get out of "Hobbes Jungle"
BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-eight years ago, the founding father of the German Internet Dr. Werner Zorn helped Beijing send its first email to the outside world, which said: "Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world."
However, today, China, together with other developing countries, still find themselves trapped in a jungle due to an expanding digital divide and a lack of joint governance.
The divide, a technological gap between developing and developed countries on an international scale, is mainly caused by some Western countries' arrogance and monopoly of information and communication technologies.
For example, the central nervous system of the global Internet with 13 root severs is completely dominated by the West, with the United States having 10 root severs while Britain, Sweden and Japan possess one respectively.
The ever-enlarging gap is detrimental to the stability and sustainable development of the international community, leading to anarchy in cyberspace and to some extent, gradually transforming it into a Hobbes Jungle where the stronger always has a bigger say over the destiny of smaller ones.
In addition, the divide has begun to show side effects like cybercrimes or even cyberterrorism as it accelerates social inequality, which provides fertile ground for extremism.
Like China, the United States is also a victim of cyberanarchy and such side effects. The recent shooting rampage in southern California, where two attackers radicalized by fanatical propaganda of the Islamic State (IS) on the Internet opened fire on innocent people, has sent a strong signal to Uncle Sam and its Western allies that they need to share and govern cyberspace with others.
After all, the Law of Jungle is relentlessly fair to everyone. In the long run, it neither favors the United States for its preponderance nor discriminates against the IS for its extremism.
In this sense, the opening of the Second World Internet Conference on Wednesday in China's Wuzhen with the theme of "an interconnected world shared and governed by all -- building a community of common future in cyberspace", is a boon to nations worldwide threatened by the Law of Jungle.
If they want to get out of the jungle, they should bear three things in mind.
First, teamwork. Treat each other with respect and equality. The jungle is too enormous for egoism. Selfishness and hegemony worship will only ruin the mission. So the hefty ones like the United States should learn to cooperate if they want to defeat common enemies like cybercrimes.
Second, sharing. Don't let the smaller ones be knocked out. Help them grow. Otherwise, they will become accomplices of the jungle. The Western countries who enjoy early advantages of information technology should loosen their restriction on technology transfers to developing countries.
Thirdly, joint governance. Never seek hegemony in decision-making. There are many paths to leave the jungle and the one you choose may not suit others. The governance of cyberspace needs the participation of all parties and all voices should be heard before a final decision is made.