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Sovereignty in Cyberspace paper unveiled

By Zhou Lanxu and Wang Ying China Daily Updated: 2019-10-22

Document elaborating on concept to act as guide to formulation of online norms

Three Chinese think tanks jointly released a document that elaborates on the concept and practices of sovereignty in cyberspace on Monday, furthering the nation's efforts to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace.

The paper, titled Sovereignty in Cyberspace: Theory and Practice, defined the concept and fundamental principles of sovereignty in cyberspace and elaborated on related practices of different countries, especially China, in recent years.

"Throughout the history of world civilization, the meaning of national sovereignty has changed and been enriched over time," said the document.

"In the information age, cyberspace is becoming highly integrated with the physical space of human activity to form a new territory of the modern state and a new realm of global governance. It is from this that sovereignty in cyberspace has emerged," it said.

The document was jointly released by the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and Wuhan University as a fruit of the sixth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, on Monday.

"The document marks Chinese academia's latest efforts to move toward the vision proposed by President Xi Jinping of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace," said Zhang Li, a member of the High-Level Advisory Council of the World Internet Conference Organizing Committee and a professor with the CICIR.

Xi unveiled the vision of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace in 2015 and proposed four principles that should be upheld to realize the vision, including respecting sovereignty in cyberspace.

"By defining sovereignty in cyberspace and elaborating on China's posture about this concept, we aim to answer questions and clear misunderstandings held by some international stakeholders surrounding both the concept itself and why China promotes it," Zhang said.

China is a staunch advocate and an active practitioner of the principle of upholding sovereignty in cyberspace, the document said.

"Advocating and practicing sovereignty in cyberspace does not mean isolation or breaking cyberspace into segments, but means facilitating a just and equitable international cyberspace order on the basis of national sovereignty and building a community with a shared future in cyberspace," it said.

Zhang said: "We welcome the international community's opinions on the document, whether agreement or disagreement, based on which we will improve and enrich the document."

Zhang added that countries at present hold divergent views on sovereignty in cyberspace and ways to exercise it.

"Our purpose is to seek common ground while setting aside differences and to promote international cooperation in cyberspace," he said.

Although different countries have different ways to define sovereignty in cyberspace, they all refer to this "most basic concept" in cyberspace governance, said Hui Zhibin, head of the internet research center under the SASS.

Therefore, the document serves as a fundamental guide to the formulation of norms in cyberspace, Hui said.

It will help policymakers, enterprises, organizations and individuals to better understand the importance of sovereignty in cyberspace and abide by the principle of respecting sovereignty in cyberspace, according to Hui.


ORGANIZED BY
Cyberspace Administration of China
People's Government of Zhejiang Province
CO-ORGANIZED BY
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
International Telecommunication Union
World Intellectual Property Organization
GSMA
HOSTED BY
Secretariat of World Internet Conference (Preparatory Office)
Cyberspace Administration of Zhejiang Province
Economy and Information Technology Department of Zhejiang Province
Tongxiang Municipal People's Government
National Internet Emergency Center
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