BUDAPEST - The Chinese government will continue to strengthen international cooperation on cyber issues, and work with all countries to build an open and secure cyberspace, said an official here on Thursday at the ongoing Budapest conference on cyberspace.
Given the many challenges presented ahead, Huang Huikang, legal advisor and Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law to China's foreign ministry emphasized the importance of cooperation across the entire international community.
Although cyberspace is virtual, it needs rules and norms to follow, Huang said. China holds that the United Nations, as the most universal and representative international organization, is the best forum for elaboration of international norms and rules in cyberspace, he added.
Huang said China proposes that the following principles be observed in strengthening international cooperation on internet related issues.
The first, he said, concerned cyber sovereignty. He said that cyber sovereignty is the natural extension of state sovereignty into cyberspace and should be respected and upheld.
"Every country is entitled to formulate its policies and laws in light of its history, traditions, culture, language and customs, and manage the internet accordingly," he said.
The second concerned the free flow of information, which he called a "double edged sword," adding that it was no excuse for the "illegal and irresponsible information rampant on the internet," which threatened national security, social orders and the lawful rights of people.
Huang also called for peaceful use of cyberspace, equitable development, and international cooperation, noting that all countries were equally entitled to share in the management of critical Internet resources. He proposed that international cooperation could be initiated in areas where there were common needs, such as in combating cybercrime and enhancing cyber security.
There are 540 million internet users in China now, making it the world's top user quantitatively. But only 40 percent of the Chinese people had access to the internet. In 2011, e-commerce in China amounted to 930 billion U.S. dollars, or 12.5 percent of its annual gross domestic product.