by WorldTribune Staff, May 3, 2021
At the direction of supreme leader Xi Jinping, the communist government in China developed plans to assume control of the global Internet, a report said.
The communist regime’s goal is to replace the open Internet model of the West, led by the United States, with China’s system of censorship and control, according to internal documents obtained by The Epoch Times.
“Having successfully built the world’s most sprawling and sophisticated online censorship and surveillance apparatus, known as the Great Firewall, the CCP under Xi is turning outwards, championing a Chinese Internet whose values run counter to the open model advocated by the West. Rather than prioritizing the free flow of information, the CCP’s system centers on giving the state the ability to censor, spy on, and control Internet data,” The Epoch Times noted in its May 2 report.
Freedom House, in its 2020 annual Internet freedom report, labeled China as the world’s worst abuser of online freedom for the sixth straight year.
In a January 2017 speech, Xi said the “power to control the Internet” had become the “new focal point of [China’s] national strategic contest,” and singled out the United States as a “rival force” standing in the way of the communist regime’s ambitions.
Xi envisions the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controlling all content on the global Internet, enabling the communists to wield what Xi described as “discourse power” over communications and discussions on the world stage.
The Chinese leader spoke of “using technology to rule the Internet” with the ultimate goal of total control over every part of the online ecosystem — over applications, content, quality, capital, and manpower, the report noted.
Xi’s remarks were made at the fourth leadership meeting of the CCP’s top Internet regulator, the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, in Beijing on Jan. 4, 2017.
Xi spoke of the need to “manage Internet relations with the United States,” while “making preparations for fighting a hard war” with the U.S. in this area. American companies would be used by the communist regime in Beijing to reach its goal, Xi said.
Xi ordered the regime to focus on three “critical” areas in its pursuit of controlling the global Internet, The Epoch Times noted.
• First, Beijing needs to be able to “set the rules” governing the international system.
• Second, it should install CCP surrogates in important positions in global Internet organizations.
• Third, the regime should gain control over the infrastructure that underlies the Internet, such as root servers, Xi said.
Domain Name System (DNS) root servers are key to Internet communications around the world. It directs users to websites they intend to visit. There are more than 1,300 root servers in the world, about 20 of which are located in China while the United States has about 10 times that, according to the website root-servers.org.
If the Chinese regime were to gain control over more root servers, they could then redirect traffic to wherever they want, Gary Miliefsky, cybersecurity expert and publisher of Cyber Defense Magazine, told The Epoch Times. For example, if a user wants to go to a news article about a topic deemed sensitive by Beijing, then the regime’s DNS server could route the user to a fake page saying the article is no longer online.
“The minute you control the root, you can spoof or fake anything,” he said. “You can control what people see, what people don’t see.”
In recent years, China “has made headway in advancing Xi’s strategy,” The Epoch Times report said.
In 2019, Chinese telecom giant Huawei first proposed the idea for an entirely new Internet, called New IP (Internet protocol), to replace the half-century-old infrastructure underpinning the web. New IP is touted to be faster, more efficient, flexible, and secure than the current internet, and will be built by the Chinese.
While New IP may indeed bring about an improved global network, Miliefsky said, “the price for that is freedom.”
“There’s going to be no free speech. And there’s going to be eavesdropping in real-time, all the time, on everyone,” he said. “Everyone who joins it is going to be eavesdropped by a single government.”
Xi has in past speeches referred to all online content as falling into three categories: “red zone, black zone, and gray zone.”
“Red zone” content refers to discourse aligned with the CCP’s propaganda requirements, while “black zone” material falls foul of these rules. “Gray zone” content lies in the middle.
“We must consolidate and expand the red zone and expand its influence in society,” Xi said in a leaked speech in August 2013. “We must bravely enter into the black zone [and fight hard] to gradually get it to change its color. We must launch large-scale actions targeting the gray zone to accelerate its conversion to the red zone and prevent it from turning into the black zone.”
In 2017, Xi ordered the CCP to develop a larger group of “red” online influencers to shape users’ perceptions of the CCP. He also called for an expansion of the “50 Cent Army” to operate both inside and outside of China’s Internet. The 50 Cent Army was formed in order to manipulate public opinion and disseminate disinformation to the benefit of the CCP.