BEIJING, March 1 The strengthening of cyber
capabilities is an important part of China's military
modernisation, the government said on Wednesday, warning that
the internet should not become "a new battlefield".
China, home to the largest number of internet users, has
long called for greater cooperation among nations in developing
and governing the internet, while reiterating the need to
respect "cyber sovereignty".
But Beijing, which operates the world's most sophisticated
online censorship mechanism known elsewhere as the "Great
Firewall", has also signalled that it wants to rectify
"imbalances" in the way standards across cyberspace are set.
"The building of national defence cyberspace capabilities is
an important part of China's military modernisation," the
Foreign Ministry and the Cyberspace Administration of China, the
country's internet regulator, said in a strategy for global
online cooperation on the ministry's website.
China will help in the military's important role in
"safeguarding national cyberspace sovereignty, security and
development interests" and "hasten the building of cyberspace
capabilities", the strategy said, but also called on countries
to "guard against cyberspace becoming a new battlefield".
Countries should not engage in internet activities that harm
nations' security, interfere in their internal affairs, and
"should not engage in cyber hegemony".
The United States has accused China's government and
military of cyber attacks against U.S. government computer
systems. Beijing denies those claims and also says it is a
victim of hacking.
While China's influence in global technology has grown, its
ruling Communist Party led by President Xi Jinping has presided
over broader and more vigorous efforts to control and censor the
flow of information online.
The "Great Firewall" blocks many social media services, such
as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Google,
along with many rights groups sites and some foreign media
Beijing also adopted a controversial cybersecurity law last
year that overseas critics say could shut foreign businesses out
of various sectors in China.
Chinese officials say the country's internet is thriving and
that controls are needed for security and stability.
(Reporting by Michael Martina and Catherine Cadell; Editing by