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25 Jul, 2014

The new order of global networks depends on equality and joint governance

Beijing, (People’s Daily Online), July 24, 2014 – Internet governance requires peaceful coexistence and the cooperation of the entire international community, with the goal of building a peaceful, confident, open and cooperative network, through the establishment of a multilateral, transparent and democratic system.

During his recent speech to the Congress of Brazil, President Xi Jinping said that the development of the Internet has introduced new challenges to the sovereignty, security and development of all countries. In the information sector, the right of sovereignty of any country should not be denied. There can be no double standards according to which any country can abuse others to defend its own security. The Chinese proposal on internet governance must become the voice of justice against any attempted hegemony on the Internet, defending the right of sovereignty and maintaining international peace and development of mankind.

In the Internet age, information is virtual, while national benefits are real. As the Internet has become ever more deeply integrated into human development, and has become the “digital driver” of economic and social development of all countries, so it has also become a new arena for international political struggles. Certain countries with economic and technological advantages spare no effort to filter information and export their values to other countries, especially to countries in the process of development, attempting to monopolize the international political voice, and even to intervene and control the internal agendas of other countries. In order to prevent the internet from becoming a new field of international political struggle and the sector most affected by hegemonism and power politics, all countries of the world need to urgently explore a new order of internet governance.

At present, the reason for the inherent vulnerabilities of the Internet governance system lies in the inequality of political and economic power among countries in development and consequently the unfair international political and economic order. First, the imbalance is reflected in the differing ability of countries to use the Internet, and the digital divide in Internet technology among countries remains enormous. For example, as internet technology originated in the United States, the national distribution of the name and address of a web (ICANN) is dominated largely by the U.S. government. Internet data from almost every country passes through the United States, which gives the U.S. an asymmetrical advantage.

This digital divide leads to an imbalance of power in internet governance. Some countries, using their advanced technology, control the rules of Internet governance. They do not simply exploit other countries economically, but also use the internet as a shortcut to steal national and business secrets. Finally, the structural imbalance in the utilization capacity of the Internet and the imbalance of power in the governance system creates double standards in the responsibility of governance. America is particularly prone to levelling unjustifiable accusations against other countries, while they themselves do whatever they want on the internet including watching everyone, stealing secrets, and invading privacy and sovereignty.

The Internet, which has become humanity’s “second space of existence” , should not be a lawless aren where the major powers dominate. Only joint governance of the whole international society, based on equality, democracy and justice, will make it possible to achieve security and common benefits. In the struggle against Internet hegemony, the key point is to apply the same criteria in the “same world and the same internet”. As President Xi Jinping highlighted, in the field of information “It cannot be that one country is safe while others are exposed, still less should one country be allowed to seek absolute security at the expense of the security of other countries.”

Internet governance requires the peaceful coexistence and cooperation of the entire international community, with the goal of building a peaceful, confident, open and cooperative space network, through the establishment of a multilateral, transparent and democratic system.

This article is edited and translated from 全球网络新秩序有赖于平等共治,Source: People’s Daily