Analysis & Opinions - Lawfare

Three Observations on China's Approach to State Action in Cyberspace

| Jan. 22, 2017


After a 36 hour visit to Beijing as part of a small group of American academics and government officials invited to engage with Chinese counterparts on contemporary issues in cybersecurity, the Belfer Center's Cyber Security Project Director Michael Sulmeyer and Project Affiliate Amy Chang discuss three observations of China's approach to cyber. Excerpt:

"We just returned from 36 hours in Beijing as part of a small group of American academics and government representatives to meet with Chinese counterparts about contemporary issues in cybersecurity.  This is the 10th round of this dialogue, led by U.S. think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Chinese think-tank China Institute for Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).  (These so-called “Track 1.5” dialogues blend official Track 1 discussions between senior government leaders with Track 2 meetings of academics and other non-government individuals.)  We were fortunate to have on the other side of the table a mix of representatives from various Chinese ministries and agencies (including the Cyberspace Administration of China, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its Ministry of Defense, China's national Computer Emergency Response Team, and its security services via think tank links), as well as a handful of independent researchers.

In exchange for candor, participants forfeit the ability to publicize details of these discussions.  We will honor that arrangement.  But we also think it worthwhile to share three observations from our recent interactions that shed light on Chinese thinking about recent cybersecurity-related events.  

First: The Chinese believe that attribution is nearly impossible..."

For more information on this publication: Please contact Cyber Project
For Academic Citation: Sulmeyer, Michael and Amy Chang.“Three Observations on China's Approach to State Action in Cyberspace.” Lawfare, January 22, 2017.