Cold War mentality hindering mutual trust in cyberspace, says Beijing

WUZHEN • A "Cold War mentality" and "bully behaviour" are hindering mutual trust in cyberspace, China's propaganda chief said yesterday at the start of the World Internet Conference in the eastern Chinese town of Wuzhen.

Mr Huang Kunming, head of the publicity department of China's ruling Communist Party, also said that under the pretext of national security, some countries have launched cyber attacks on other countries and enterprises.

Mr 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 behaviour in cyberspace has had a negative impact 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."

The state-run World Internet Conference, one of China's most prominent tech events, takes place this year against a backdrop of rising United States-China tensions that has especially overshadowed the tech sector.

Washington has barred US firms from exporting to certain Chinese tech firms through trade blacklists and both sides have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on each other in an intensifying trade war, which has also hit tech supply chains.

Beijing has traditionally used the three-day event, whose attendees this year include Alibaba Group, Baidu, Microsoft and Qualcomm, to promote its own ideology for global Internet governance and defend its highly policed cyberspace.

China has also been pushing for a bigger role in global Internet governance and has called on nations to respect its "cyber sovereignty", the idea that countries should be free to control and censor their Internet infrastructure as they see fit.


The annual conference is organised by the Internet censorship bureau Cyberspace Administration of China, which is responsible for managing the country's tight controls over its cyberspace that prevents Chinese users from accessing the services of tech companies such as Facebook and Google.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2019, with the headline 'Cold War mentality hindering mutual trust in cyberspace, says Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe