China Cyber Outlook
Cutting edge technology development is central to China's economic and security goals. Information communication technology (ICT) companies are key enablers for millions of Chinese citizens to become consumers and active participants in the information age. Yet, China's leaders recognize that advancements in technology have moved ahead of the government's ability to regulate and control it. The government has moved rapidly to create new institutions, laws, and policies to manage hardware, software, data flows, and information within its borders in ways that will transform the landscape for foreign and domestic ICT companies and internet users. China is not alone in this process; governments around the world are also grappling with how to shape laws and policies for issues like cross-border data transfer, privacy, and cybersecurity. This page will feature ongoing analysis by CSIS and outside experts looking to understand the security and business implications of China's evolving approach to governing cyberspace, and how the U.S. and other nations can respond. Follow hyperlinks for full-text articles.
November 30, 2017 | Paul Triolo, Samm Sacks, Graham Webster and Rogier Creemers
In the year since China’s Cybersecurity Law was released in its full form and the six months since it went into effect June 1, the Chinese government and the Communist Party have significantly clarified their approach to cyberspace and information and communications technology (ICT). Developments range from well-reported media control moves to early enforcement actions on data protection and still-evolving frameworks affecting foreign companies doing business in China. This interlocking matrix of regulations and standards associated with the new law is already shaping China’s political and economic digital reality.
October 26, 2017 | Samm Sacks
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 19th Party Congress concluded on October 24. The week-long session marked a twice in a decade leadership reshuffle and codified President Xi Jinping’s elevated status in China’s political system. Yet, the Party Congress has received less attention for what it reveals about the leadership’s approach to the digital economy and building China into a “cyber superpower.” Key leadership changes and policy statements from the Congress make clear that the development of information and communications technology (ICT) has become a political priority as Xi enters his second term.
Beyond the Worst-Case Assumptions on China’s Cybersecurity Law: There's Still an Internal Tug-of-war Over Cross-border Data Flows
October 13, 2017 | Samm Sacks, Paul Triolo, Graham Webster
On June 1, China’s new Cybersecurity Law went into effect. Before and since there has been intense discussion in international business circles and governments about what that means in practice. In the United States especially, there has been a tendency toward reading the law and related documents in “worst case scenario,” fueling concerns that China’s emerging digital governance regime will systematically disadvantage outside firms and champion domestic tech giants. For example, a September 25 filing by the U.S. Government with a World Trade Organization body reflected a dire interpretation of some of China’s ambiguous language.
September 26, 2017 | Samm Sacks, Paul Triolo
The Chinese government is operationalizing President Xi Jinping’s concept of cyber sovereignty and implementing the country’s new Cybersecurity Law. Four regulations issued since late August show the leadership’s approach to data privacy and security online. The regulations require real-name identity registration (实名制 or 身份信息认证) and the establishment of a digital social credit or rating system (用户分级管理制度) for Internet use.
September 25, 2017 | Samm Sacks, Paul Triolo, Graham Webster, Elsa Kania
With the 19th Party Congress coming next month and the 4th Chinese-convened World Internet Congress (WIC) soon to follow, China’s digital policy authorities this month held a publicity-filled Cybersecurity Week, and the Party’s leading journal on theory, Qiushi, published an important article from a previously unknown entity under the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The article, which a team of analysts has translated in full below, outlines the major elements of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s strategic thinking on one of Chinese cyberspace policy’s watchwords: 网络强国 (wǎngluò qiángguó). It’s a pithy formulation in Chinese that can be translated as “cyber superpower,” or “building China into a national power in cyberspace,” and the strategic concept attached to it ties together a series of concepts and initiatives that Xi has pushed in major speeches and the Chinese government has moved to enact.