Reading tea leaves: China statement on Internet policy

The Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China has issued a statement on “Internet Policy in China.” Released Tuesday, the lengthy statement covers a range of topics from promoting internal development and use, to freedom of expression, protecting Internet security, and international cooperation.

A quick review reveals two interesting passages relevant to global Internet governance. First, concerning Internet security:

Effectively protecting Internet security is an important part of China' s Internet administration, and an indispensable requirement for protecting state security and the public interest. The Chinese government believes that the Internet is an important infrastructure facility for the nation. Within Chinese territory the Internet is under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty. The Internet sovereignty of China should be respected and protected.

I imagine you would be hard pressed to find any government which disagrees with the sovereignty principle expressed above, despite the fact that the Internet's core infrastructure, applications (e.g., the DNS), and services operate transnationally. The position creates a fundamental tension (and threat to global Internet governance institutions) that governments everywhere are exacerbating by promoting securitization of the Internet.

Second, is language about international cooperation on critical Internet resources:

China holds that the role of the UN should be given full scope in international Internet administration. China supports the establishment of an authoritative and just international Internet administration organization under the UN system through democratic procedures on a worldwide scale. The fundamental resources of the Internet are vitally connected to the development and security of the Internet industry. China maintains that all countries have equal rights in participating in the administration of the fundamental international resources of the Internet, and a multilateral and transparent allocation system should be established on the basis of the current management mode, so as to allocate those resources in a rational way and to promote the balanced development of the global Internet industry.

The statement can simply be read that critical internet resources should be governed multilaterally within the paradigm of a nation-state based regime, namely the UN (although what agency is not specified). What is ambiguous, however, is the phrase “on the basis of the current management mode,” which could be a reference to the existing Internet governance institutions. If so, we'll continue to see China tacitly support and engage the ICANN, IETF, and RIRs, but simultaneously push for their reform, particularly when it comes to their oversight and ensuring that processes lead to a “balanced development of the global Internet industry.” We should expect China to extract something for this acquiescence, i.e., look for Internet governance institutions engaging in work which supports China's interests.

8 comments

  1. Anonymous

    China could show that the NAIVE Internet Architecture
    promoted by the ISOC, IETF, ICANN, NANOG, et al
    is primarily responsible for many problems.
    Will end-to-end IPv6 promoters be held responsible?
    Are people who are opposed to DPI educated or
    qualified to understand what they oppose ?
    Is the wide-open faulty BGP architecture to blame?
    Why does the ISOC promote NAIVE policies and
    architectures ?

  2. Anonymous

    Does China see FRAUD in simple DNS lookups ?
    OPS.IETF.ORG is at 147.28.0.62
    yet 147.28.0.62 is PSG.COM ?
    ISOC IETF DNS not configured properly ?
    or Fraud ?
    ; < <>> DiG 9.2.4 < <>> ops.ietf.org ns a
    ;ops.ietf.org. IN A
    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    ops.ietf.org. 14400 IN A 147.28.0.62
    ; < <>> DiG 9.2.4 < <>> 62.0.28.147.in-addr.arpa ptr
    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    62.0.28.147.in-addr.arpa. 14400 IN PTR psg.com.

  3. Anonymous

    Reading the .USA (and .CO) Tea-Leaves
    RFI Process & Event Schedule
    Wednesday, June 9: RFI is transmitted to OpenCable NDA participants
    Tuesday, June 22: Deadline for interested parties to submit Registration
    Thursday, June 24: Notification to selected vendors
    Friday, June 25: “Kick off” conference call including all vendors
    Monday, July 19: Arrival, orientation, setup
    Tuesday, July 20: Interoperability among participants
    Wednesday, July 21: Interoperability among participants
    Thursday, July 22: Open House*
    Friday, July 23: Summarize results, debrief, tear down, travel home

  4. Anonymous

    Jon Postel's USC hit hard by NCAA sanctions
    The NCAA has ruled that the University of Southern California athletic department exhibited a lack of institutional control from 2004 to 2009
    for a wide array of rules violations committed in its football, men’s basketball and women’s tennis programs.
    Who Sanctions ISOC and ICANN ?
    When do the 8 million .ORG owners get to VOTE ?

  5. Anonymous

    The Culture of the Elite Cast
    USC, OJ, Harvard, Dyson, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, Cerf
    Rules do not apply to them or ISOC & ICANN
    Million dollar non-profit salaries, travel, parties
    Artificial scarcity policies – Economic control
    It Seeks Overall Control