Wednesday, October 10, 2012

China Says United Nations Best Forum for Internet Governance

On October 5, 2012, China's official news agency Xinhua published an article entitled "Huang Huikang, legal advisor and Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Strengthen International Exchanges and Cooperation in the Internet Domain" (外交部条法司司长黄惠康:加强网络领域的国际交流合作). The article covered Huang Huikang's (黄惠康) speech at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace. An excerpt:
Although cyberspace is virtual, it needs rules and norms to follow, Huang said. China holds that the United Nations, as the most universal and representative international organization, is the best forum for elaboration of international norms and rules in cyberspace, he added.
For more on the overlap of China's and the UN's approaches to Internet governance see: UN Says Freedom of Speech on the Internet is Human Right, Baidu Tieba Bans Forums on "Freedom" and "Rights"

Huang said that there were three ongoing controversies regarding Internet security:
  1. Certain countries are using "Internet freedom" as an excuse to interfere with other countries' internal affairs.
  2. Certain countries are using their technological advantages to militarize cyberspace.
  3. The United States and other countries are dominating the current Internet governance mechanisms.
Huang said China proposed that five principles be observed in strengthening international cooperation on Internet related issues:

Cyber Sovereignty (网络主权). According to Huang cyber sovereignty is the natural extension of state sovereignty into cyberspace and should be respected and upheld: "Every country is entitled to formulate its policies and laws in light of its history, traditions, culture, language and customs, and manage the internet accordingly."

For more on China's approach to Internet sovereignty, see Chinese Researchers Propose International Standard for a Partitioned Internet - Say It Would  Safeguard China's National Security

Balance (平衡). Huang said the free flow of information is a "double edged sword," adding that there was no excuse for the "illegal and irresponsible information rampant on the internet," which threatened national security, social order and the lawful rights of people.

For examples of "illegal and irresponsible information," see:
Peaceful Utilization of the Internet (和平利用网络). No one should use Internet technology or resources to threaten other countries' political, economic, or social security.

For more on China's approach to peaceful utilization, see State Run Television Removes Video Allegedly Depicting Government Cyber-Attack

Fairness (公平发展). A multi-stakeholder, transparent, and democratic international governing  mechanism for the Internet should be established to ensure that Internet resources are fairly distributed, and to promote balanced global Internet development.

For more on China's approach to transparency, see China's Caijing Magazine: Burma No Longer Blocking Facebook, Facebook Now Only Blocked in China, North Korea, Cuba, and Iran

International Cooperation (国际合作). Every nation should, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, actively promote exchanges and cooperation in the Internet area, and bear equal responsibility for safeguarding global Internet security.

For more on China's approach to international cooperation, see USTR Asks About the Great Firewall, China Says the Great Firewall Complies With International Practice, China's Search Engines Censor Information About the Great Firewall