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China's Approach to Cyber Sovereignty

Cyber sovereignty: China's strategic concept for its rise as a global digital power

In a short period of time, China has succeeded in becoming one of the world's leading digital powers. As a result, a hard-fought competition for innovation leadership in digital technologies has broken out between the USA and China. competition also has significant consequences for Europe. In light of this development, a deeper understanding of Chinese digital and technology policy is becoming increasingly important. To develop this much needed knowledge, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung presents a new study that analyzes China's strategic concept of cyber sovereignty and discusses its implications.

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Since the mid-1990s, China has systematically promoted the use of digital technologies in all areas of economic, social and political life. This has not only enabled China to become a leading digital power. At the same time, China has also established itself as an internationally competitive player in the global competition for innovation leadership. The concept of cyber sovereignty is a cornerstone of China's approach to digital high technologies, which shapes its domestic policy as well as its digital and cyber diplomacy on the international level. Thereby the strategic concept does not only guide China's digital policy today but also sets the further development path of China's policy in this field.  

In our new study Rogier Creemers analyzes this concept in detail and reconstructs not only the historical background. He also unfolds the political logic and shows the variety of instruments and approaches by which the concept is implemented broadly. Through this study it will not only be possible to better understand China's efforts in the field of digital and cyber diplomacy, but also the factors driving this policies. At the same time, it becomes comprehensible how China's elites are shaping the country's digital transformation and have created a unique amalgamation of the country's political structures with digital technologies.  

If Europe wants to find answers to China's digital authoritarianism and its rise to a major digital power, an understanding of Chinese digital policy, to which our study contributes, is essential. If Europe wants to find answers to China's digital authoritarianism and its rise to a digital power, deeper knowledge of Chinese digital policy is essential. Our study is intended to contribute to precisely this knowledge and wants to strengthen a differentiated a discourse about China`s digital policy.

In addition to the study, we would also like to draw your attention to our event "Framing the Future of AI" on November 27, 2020. At this event we will debate the future of AI and discuss the implications of concepts like cyber sovereignty.  If you are interested in better understanding China's digital policy and discussing it with Rogier Creemers and additional international experts, please register for our event.


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Sebastian Weise

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Digital Democracy + 49 30 26996 3732 +49 30 26996 3551


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