The rapid development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the emergence of China as a primordial global power are two of the most impactful political events of our generation. They are also profoundly intertwined at various levels: China not only sees ICTs as essential to its continued development, it is also enmeshed in rapidly evolving international discussions concerning internet governance and cyber security. The West and China however strongly diverge within these discussions. Where the former advocates an open and free system, China prefers a structure where national sovereignty prevails, and the state plays the central role. Therefore, China presents a complex challenge: while certain Chinese principles and processes are diametrically opposed to the fundamental values that form Dutch foreign policy, it is impossible to combat a number of global cyber risks without Chinese cooperation. The bilateral relationship with China must also be viewed not only in itself, but also in the context of rapidly changing geopolitical relations and technological capacities.
This research projects aims at increased levels of knowledge and awareness among a variety of target groups, including policymakers, businesses, and researchers engaging with China, as well as civil society organizations. Its primary focus is to support The Netherlands (and Europe) with the various challenges China’s cyber policy poses, in addition to stimulating effective engagement with China.
By organizing two international workshops in May and June, we aim to collaborate with Chinese, European and American experts to work on issues concerning diverse topics in internet policy. In support of this project, a network of social and research partners was created. Social partners are the primary conduits for dissemination of research outcomes, generating impact and outlining content demand. They include Dutch and European governmental bodies, important non-governmental organizations etc. Research partners include academic entities and think tanks. Prominent representatives of academic and social partners form a project feedback group, to advise on and guide the substantive development of the project. This group collaborates constantly and meets regularly at conferences and workshops in the Netherlands, China and the US.
We will also set up a database in collaboration with the Digi-China project which will provide an overview of our translations on Chinese laws, speeches, etc. having to do with China’s cyber policy.