China / Society

Experts' take on internet sovereignty and domain management

( Updated: 2016-05-23 09:42

Editor's note: President Xi Jinping recently spoke on internet sovereignty, and the government also plans to push ahead with new rules of managing domain names. The recent statements have attracted unfavorable views in the West. But many experts see the planned changes differently. Here are some of their opinions.

Internet sovereignty

In some cases, internet sovereignty can mean a state protecting its citizens' privacy against international corporate surveillance or infiltration by another state. In other cases, it can mean the state ensuring that it can invade the privacy of its citizens whenever and however it likes. The choices made depend on the state, but that of course is the point: It's the state that decides.

---- Scott L Malcomson is the author of Splinternet: How Geopolitics and Commerce are Fragmenting the World Wide Web. He is a fellow at the Carnegie Corporation

Internet sovereignty has the characteristics that the UN Charter describes to fit the sovereign jurisdiction of the land, the people and the government of each country. Internet freedom should accord with the international conventions on human rights, and should not breach the UN Charter on sovereign equality. Internet sovereignty overweighs internet freedom.

---- Zhao Hongrui, the head of law school at the Harbin Institute of Technology

Domain name management

New rules are intended to reduce threats toward consumers and enterprises, as well as boost the use of Chinese domain names. Technically, the re-registration of domain names itself is not hard. Companies can transfer their domain names from foreign registration service providers to domestic ones within a day.

---- Long Weilian, a famous tech blogger in China

Domain name is critical to a country, because it functions as the fundamental guidepost to the internet. It is easy for companies to transfer domain names from foreign organizations to domestic ones as it does not interrupt their business.

---- Hu Gang, head of research center of the Internet Society of China

If you are accessing internet in China, the government has the right to supervise you due to the apanage management principle. The centralized management will improve the government's capability in coping with crisis. The government would have more domestic choices, rather than relying on foreign organizations.

---- Xie Yongjiang, deputy head of the BUPT's Institute of Internet Governance and Law


If computers develop a problem then that can bring down power grids, transportation networks and financial system, causing severe physical damage and economic losses. Cybersecurity is the biggest challenge facing the online world, and is pivotal to the continuous application of internet in all industries.

---- Zhang Yuzhe, a researcher at the NDRC's Institute on Industrial Technology Research

China has weak infrastructure to ensure cybersecurity, and Chinese companies have less sense of protecting themselves. Cybersecurity equals to State safety, and the government and companies should all increase their safety awareness to secure information.

---- Zheng Wenbin, chief engineer of Qihoo 360 Technology Co

We should view cyberspace as a strategic to protect the country's sovereignty, safety and development, establishing strong internet forces without delay. The secrets revealed by Edward Snowden have demonstrated that the US has quietly entered the backyard of our cyber territory.

---- Qin An, a researcher at the China Institute of Innovation & Development Strategy

Lots of disclosures have revealed that private internet companies in the US are working with the government, and China should also follow that. It is important for the country to nurture high-level talents for cybersecurity.

---- Wu Jianping, a professor at Tsinghua University

Internet governance

The internet has become a crucial part of the infrastructure across the world, and the cyberspace has been an independent space. Just like the international community has developed rules for sea and outer space, the world should set up rules for internet.

---- Wang Jiandong and Tong Nannan, researchers from the State Information Center

Since the internet has become part of our real life, the cyberspace cannot be a lawless place. The legislation of the internet would be normal in the future.

---- Shi Xiansheng, deputy head of the Internet Society of China

Different countries have different policies regarding the internet. The online world also needs general rules. All nations should work together toward setting general rules catering to the global environment.

---- Wu Xiucheng, vice-president of Coremail

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