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From technological issue to military-diplomatic affairs: analysis of China’s official cybersecurity discourse (1994–2016)
chapterposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Weishan Miao, Jian XuJian Xu, Zhu Hongjun
This chapter traces the trajectory of how the Chinese government frames cybersecurity by examining the evolution of official cybersecurity discourse over the past two decades. To understand this discursive evolution and the social power dynamics that have been shaping the change, the chapter presents content analysis and critical discourse analysis of the news coverage on cybersecurity from 1994 to 2016 in the People’s Daily – one of the most authoritarian mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party. It argues that China’s official cybersecurity discourse has evolved from a focus on “technological,” “socialpolitical” issues to the current “military-diplomatic” affairs focus. Correspondingly, official responses to cybersecurity threat have changed from initially treating it as a mere technology crime to upgrading it to the current military and diplomatic issue. The militarizing and diplomatizing turn of China’s cybersecurity discourse have mainly been caused by the increasing Sino-American conflicts and disputes over cybersecurity and Internet governance since 2010 as well as China’s growing ambition to restructure global cyber power since 2014. This chapter contributes to understanding China’s state-centric approach to Internet governance and the promotion of “cyber sovereignty” internationally in the pursuit of a new global Internet order.