Interconnection is the basic nature of cyberspace. Sharing and co-governance is the common vision of internet development. With the rapid development of global information technology, the internet has penetrated into all aspects of human life and work. As a consequence, humanity is increasingly confronted with development and security challenges in cyberspace, which must be addressed through joint efforts.
1. A community with a shared future in cyberspace is an important part of a global community of shared future
The world is presently undergoing a period of profound changes on a scale unseen in a century. A new revolution in science, technology and industry is gaining momentum. The Covid-19 epidemic has had a far-reaching impact, while the forces of unilateralism, protectionism, and opposition to globalization are on the rise. The world economic recovery is sluggish, frequent regional conflicts and turmoil erupt, and global problems are intensifying. The world has entered a new period of turbulence and change.
Problems with the internet such as unbalanced development, unsound regulation, and unreasonable order are becoming more prominent. Cyber-hegemonism poses a new threat to world peace and development.
Certain countries are exploiting the internet and information technology as a tool to seek hegemony, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, and engage in large-scale cyber theft and surveillance, raising the risk of conflict in cyberspace.
Some countries attempt to decouple with others, and create schism and confrontation in cyberspace. The increasingly complex cybersecurity situation calls for more just, reasonable and effective cyberspace governance. Global threats and challenges in cyberspace necessitate strong global responses.
China is the world’s largest developing country and the country with the largest number of internet users. It understands the underlying trends of the information age; upholds a people-centered approach; and supports global governance based on extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. China insists that the building of a community with a shared future in cyberspace should be based on multilateral and multiparty participation and consultation, respect for cyber sovereignty, and a spirit of partnership; and the international community should be encouraged to expand pragmatic cooperation and jointly deal with associated risks and challenges. The goal of building a community with a shared future in cyberspace conforms to the developments of the information age and meets the needs and expectations of the people throughout the world. It is a plan that China contributes to the global efforts to promote the development and governance of cyberspace on the basis of respecting cyber sovereignty.
The community with a shared future in cyberspace is an important part of a global community of shared future. Related concepts and proposals on development, security, governance and universal benefits are in conformity with the concepts of a global community of shared future and the distinctive features of cyberspace; and promoting a community with a shared future in cyberspace will provide abundant digital impetus, a solid security safeguard, and a broader consensus on cooperation to this end.
2. Build a community of development, security, responsibility and shared interests
To build a community with a shared future in cyberspace, we should hold to a vision of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, and promote a multilateral, democratic and transparent international internet governance system. We strive to realize the goals of innovation-driven development, security, order, equality, respect, openness, and shared interests in cyberspace, so that cyberspace will be a community that benefits all of humanity.
Build a community of development. As the integration and innovation of a new generation of information and communication technologies accelerates, digital, networking and intelligent technologies have increased their penetration throughout the economy and society, profoundly changing people’s approaches to life and work. However, imbalances in internet penetration, infrastructure construction, technological innovation and creation, the digital economy, digital literacy, and skills affect and restrict IT development and digital transformation around the world, especially in developing countries. To build a community of development, we should adopt more active, inclusive, coordinated, and beneficial policies to accelerate the construction of global information infrastructure and provide developing countries with accessible, affordable and useful internet services. We will give full play to the role of the digital economy as an engine in global economic development, and actively promote digital industrialization and industrial digital transformation.
Build a community of security. Security is a prerequisite for development. A secure, stable and prosperous cyberspace is of great significance to all countries. Cybersecurity is a global challenge, and no country can remain in isolation. Safeguarding cybersecurity is the shared responsibility of the international community. Building a community of security is to uphold the concept of open and cooperative cybersecurity, attach equal importance to security and development, and encourage and regulate both. We will strengthen international cooperation in protecting critical information infrastructure and data security, maintain information technology neutrality and industrial globalization, and jointly curb the abuse of information technology. We should strengthen strategic mutual trust, share timely information on cyber threats, effectively coordinate the handling of major cybersecurity incidents, cooperate to combat cyber terrorism and crimes, and jointly safeguard peace and security in cyberspace.
Build a community of responsibility. Cyberspace is a common space for human activities, and it should be jointly controlled by all countries. To build a community of responsibility is to adhere to multilateral participation and multiparty participation, and actively promote reform and development of the global internet governance system. We should leverage the role of the United Nations as the main channel in international cyberspace governance, and give play to the role of government, international organizations, internet companies, technical communities, social organizations and individual citizens to promote mutual trust and coordinated and orderly cooperation. To make the governance system more just and equitable, we should improve dialogue and consultation mechanisms, jointly study and formulate norms for cyberspace governance, and reflect the interests and concerns of all parties in a more balanced way, especially those of developing countries.
Build a community of shared interests. The achievements of internet development and governance should be shared by all countries to ensure that different countries, ethnic groups, and peoples all enjoy the dividends of internet development on an equal basis. Building a community of shared interests means putting people first, promoting science and technology for good, and making the digital economy more inclusive. We should step up policy support to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises use new-generation information technology to promote innovation in products, services, processes, organizations and business models, so that these enterprises can share more opportunities from the development of the digital economy. We should attend to the protection of vulnerable groups on the internet, strengthen the cultivation of internet ethnics and civilization, promote the healthy development of internet culture and foster a sound cyber environment. We should promote inclusive development on a global scale, reinforce the cyber development capabilities of developing countries, bridge the digital divide, share the achievements of internet development, and facilitate the effective implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
3. Basic principles for building a community with a shared future in cyberspace
To build a community with a shared future in cyberspace, we should adhere to the following basic principles:
Respect cyber sovereignty. The principle of sovereign equality, as enshrined in the UN Charter, is a fundamental norm governing contemporary international relations in cyberspace. The rights of all countries to choose their own path of network development and governance model, and to equally participate in international governance in cyberspace should be respected. All countries have the right to formulate pubic policies, laws, and regulations on cyberspace in the context of their national conditions and international experience. No country should seek cyber hegemony; use the internet to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs; engage in, incite, or support cyber activities that endanger other countries’ national security, or infringe on other countries’ key information infrastructure.
Safeguard peace and security. A secure and stable cyberspace is important for the common wellbeing of humanity. All countries should persevere in resolving disputes and differences through dialogue and consultation, comprehensively addressing traditional and non-traditional security threats, and ensuring peace and security in cyberspace. Countries should oppose hostile cyber actions and aggression, prevent arms race and armed conflicts in cyberspace, and prevent and oppose terrorism, obscenity, drug trafficking, money laundering, gambling, and other criminal activities in cyberspace. All parties should abandon the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game and double standards; seek peace through cooperation; and strive to achieve their own security through common security.
Promote openness and cooperation. Openness is a prerequisite for international cooperation in cyberspace and an important condition for building a community with a shared future in cyberspace. All countries should uphold the concept of openness, pursue open policies, improve the level of openness, and jointly promote the sound development of the internet. We will actively build bilateral, regional and international cooperation platforms; increase the complementarity of resource strengths; maintain a global system of coordinated innovation; and promote the inclusive development of different systems, ethnic groups, and cultures in cyberspace. We oppose politicizing cybersecurity issues. We oppose trade protectionism. We oppose narrow-minded factionalism. We oppose dividing the internet and exploiting one’s own strengths to undermine the security of other countries’ supply chains in information and communications technology (ICT) products and services.
Maintain good order. Cyberspace, like the real world, values both freedom and order. Freedom is the purpose of order, and order is the guarantee of freedom. It respects the rights of netizens to exchange ideas and express their wishes, and seeks a sound cyber order in accordance with the law. Cyberspace is not an “extrajudicial place”. Cyberspace is virtual, but the users of cyberspace are real and they should abide by the law and the rights and obligations of all parties should be clarified. We will continue to manage, run, and use the internet in accordance with the law, and ensure that the internet operates in a sound manner based on the rule of law. We will strengthen the development of cyber ethnics and civilization, employ the guiding role of moral education, and use the outstanding achievements of human civilization to nourish cyberspace and preserve the online environment.