A “Cold War mentality” and “bully behavior” are hindering mutual trust in cyberspace, China’s propaganda chief said on Sunday at the start of the World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese town of Wuzhen.
Huang Kunming (黃坤明), a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s politburo and head of the party’s propaganda department, also said that under the pretext of national security, some countries had launched cyberattacks on countries and enterprises.
Huang did not specify which countries he was referring to.
“The Cold War thinking and zero sum game, this has stopped and hindered exchanges in cyberspace. Also, bully behavior in cyberspace has had a negative impact on mutual trust,” he said.
“The foundation for an open and shared-by-all Internet is unstable,” Huang said.
“We need to respect each country’s approach to Internet development, governance, policy making and their rights to participate in international governance based on mutual trust,” he said.
“By using national security as an excuse, some countries have attacked some countries and enterprises. This has increased the uncertainty, opposition and negativity in cyberspace,” he added.
China aims to become a “great power” in the online world, Huang said, adding “We have become a cyberspace power of 800 million netizens.”
The state-run World Internet Conference comes as Washington has barred US firms from exporting to certain Chinese tech companies through trade blacklists and the two countries have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on each other in an intensifying trade dispute.
Beijing has traditionally used the three-day event organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China to promote its own ideology for global Internet governance and to defend its highly policed cyberspace.
It has been pushing for a bigger role in global internet governance and has called on nations to respect Beijing’s “cybersovereignty,” the idea that countries should be free to control and censor their Internet infrastructure as they see fit.
In the past, the event has drawn top US tech chief executives, but this year’s conference lacks any high-profile US figures, although Western Digital Corp chief executive Steve Milligan is attending.
Additional reporting by AFP and Bloomberg
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