China's president heads cybersecurity body

2014-02-28 07:55
Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Rolex Dela Pena, AFP)

Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Rolex Dela Pena, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beijing - Chinese President Xi Jinping has put himself in charge of a new body to co-ordinate cybersecurity, in a sign of Beijing's concern over its vulnerability to online attacks and its desire to retain tight control over the Internet.

Reports in state media on Friday said the central Internet security and information leading group will draft policy for boosting the country's defences, as well as expanding and improving Internet access.

"Efforts should be made to build our country into a cyberpower", Xi was quoted as saying, calling for more innovation in the industry and improvements to Internet access and connection speeds.

Online opinion must be properly guided, while the internet should help spread "mainstream values and positive energy", Xi said. With a population of 1.3 billion, China has 618 million internet users, the most of any country, although much of the rural population remains gravely underserved.

US under attack

"No Internet safety means no national security", Xi said, adding that without boosting internet access there can be "no modernisation".

No details were given about the group, one of several broad-based co-ordinating agencies nominally led by Xi and other top leaders. Reports on Thursday's inaugural meeting at which Xi delivered his remarks did not mention any specific new initiatives.

The US accuses China's army and China-based hackers of launching attacks on American industrial and military targets, often to steal secrets or intellectual property. China says it likewise faces a major threat from hackers, and the country's military is believed to be among the biggest targets of the US National Security Agency and the US Cyber Command.

Between January and August of last year, more than 20 000 China-based websites were hacked and more than 8 million servers hijacked by zombie and Trojan programmes controlled from overseas, the head of the Cabinet's Information Office, Cai Mingzhao, told a conference in November.

Zombie and Trojan attacks were up 14% over the same period in 2012, Cai said. He estimated that China's economy was losing tens of billions of dollars to cyberattacks every year.

Virginia-based Internet security company Mandiant drew attention last year when it issued a detailed report tracing attacks on 141 companies to a hacking unit in Shanghai that experts believe is part of the Chinese Army's cyber command. The Chinese government denied the accusations.

Partly as a response, a US-China joint cybersecurity working group was established and has already met once to foster co-operation against third party threats.

China has enthusiastically promoted the idea of international co-operation on cybersecurity, but its proposal for a set of rules governing online behavior has been rejected by the US as opening the door to greater regulation and censorship.

China's authoritarian communist government heavily polices the Internet for content deemed politically subversive, as well as sites promoting gambling, pornography and other illegal topics. Much foreign content is blocked, including social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

However, that hasn't prevented China's government and state media outlets such as the national broadcaster CCTV from maintaining a lively presence on such blocked sites.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    xi jinping  |  us  |  china  |  online security
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

VIDEO: 5 scintillating RWC tries from the weekend
Meyer taking no chances
Butch happy with ‘best possible’ Bok side
Hooper slapped with one-match ban
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.