Article from a Former Chinese PLA General on Cyber Sovereignty

Interesting article by Major General Hao Yeli, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (ret.), a senior advisor at the China International Institute for Strategic Society, Vice President of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, and the Chair of the Guanchao Cyber Forum.

Against the background of globalization and the internet era, the emerging cyber sovereignty concept calls for breaking through the limitations of physical space and avoiding misunderstandings based on perceptions of binary opposition. Reinforcing a cyberspace community with a common destiny, it reconciles the tension between exclusivity and transferability, leading to a comprehensive perspective. China insists on its cyber sovereignty, meanwhile, it transfers segments of its cyber sovereignty reasonably. China rightly attaches importance to its national security, meanwhile, it promotes international cooperation and open development.

China has never been opposed to multi-party governance when appropriate, but rejects the denial of government’s proper role and responsibilities with respect to major issues. The multilateral and multiparty models are complementary rather than exclusive. Governments and multi-stakeholders can play different leading roles at the different levels of cyberspace.

In the internet era, the law of the jungle should give way to solidarity and shared responsibilities. Restricted connections should give way to openness and sharing. Intolerance should be replaced by understanding. And unilateral values should yield to respect for differences while recognizing the importance of diversity.

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 6:23 AM69 Comments


keiner January 17, 2018 8:18 AM

“diversity” in this context means that there are no universal, inalienable human rights to Mr. China.

This is not the meaning of diversity, but the perversion of this word. Mind if they take over the language, as the naxis do these days, in USA, Europe, elsawhere…

Winter January 17, 2018 8:30 AM

Currently, the USA largely determines what is and is not allowed on the internet. With growing power, and a growing online population, China is forcing a seat at that table, whether we like it or not.

I very much doubt it whether we can change the rules of the games with technology alone. Our own Western technology companies have shown time and again that they are willing to use every bit of technology available against anyone, including their own compatriots. As long as their customers pay, they will deliver.

I think that we can hardly claim the high ground as long as our governments and companies are doing everything to use the internet against humanity.

Bill Marrs January 17, 2018 8:42 AM

I’m all for openness and sharing power with China. But, I keep thinking about that time I inadvertently disabled my firewall (iptables) and my security log filled with automated root login attempts from mostly Chinese IP addresses. Welcome to the jungle.

TRValentine January 17, 2018 9:30 AM

@keiner – all too often, what are ‘universal, inalienable human rights’ to Westerners are actually Western values. There are very different concepts of what constitute fundamental human rights in other cultures/civilizations. Trying to impose Western ideas on others is rightly perceived as modern Western imperialism and will be resisted by non-Westerners.

CallMeLateForSupper January 17, 2018 9:50 AM

I think FBI Director Wray could take a lesson in low-sleeze eloquence from this guy.

Petre Peter January 17, 2018 10:03 AM

If i don’t protect solidarity, shared responsibilities, openness and sharing, understanding, and diversity, i am not in security.

vas pup January 17, 2018 10:13 AM

@TRValentine • January 17, 2018 9:30 AM

I guess TRV has good point. One size fit all does not work around the globe. I guess such kind of uniformity is counterproductive. China’s economy proves that there is other path to prosperity: recently they built the most powerful computer in the world, maglev train, the biggest radio telescope, tested orbital quantum encryption, etc. Number of $ billionaires is more than in US. Another example is Russia. When Russia(USSR) has less authoritarian regime, it gets decline in economy, power, chaos, revolution (1917, 1991-2000). It is important to take into consideration historic path of each country.
But @Keiner, to be clear I am not promoting regimes like N Korea or Stasi-type control by LEAs/IC over own population (1984). Everything should be in moderation.
Some important note out of the subject: there are five countries rating by the independent body where the best place to live. To your surprise neither USA, nor Russia or Chine in those top five. (Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand).
I guess it would be good to consider those 5 modus of life as a model to impose on others – just to be objective.

keiner January 17, 2018 10:43 AM

@vas pup

No, your position is simply (hardly) disguised racism. You discriminate people for where they where born and think you can withhold general human rights based on the place somebody was born.

Or is it not the place somebody is born? Is it if he/she made it to leave to country that stripped him/her of human rights? And became a refugee…

TRValentine January 17, 2018 11:51 AM

@keiner – I did not write that ‘humans rights’ are ‘imperialism’, but rather attempts to impose Western ideas and values is Western imperialism. There really is no such thing as universal inalienable human rights because different places have different values.

One example: the West tends to be strongly individualistic and thus focuses on the ‘rights’ of each person. But there are many places (e.g. China, Japan) where the social group is more important than an individual and the rights of the group are more important than the rights of an individual. And that is just one example.

vas pup January 17, 2018 12:07 PM

I respect your point of view even I don’t agree with it following Ben’s Franklin: “Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom”. I oppose any type of extremes and attempts to decide who is right based on who has more rights (money,guns,loud speakers, number of people sharing the same view, etc. – that is not criteria for me). Nobody has the right to become Thought Police (as government institution or folks movement) and suppress opinions they don’t like.
Freedom of speech is to tell what you do not want(do not like) to hear. Otherwise the destiny is (in a long run)like in the movie “Idiocracy”.
When you have 999 people with the same view on subject matter, but just 1 with opposite view, the latter is more important to know to have multi-dimensional view. J. Bruno was right, but all folks wrong. He was put on fire of the Though Police of that time. His crime was to tell that the Earth is not flat(1), but round. Good example out the history of Dark Ages.
As I stated in my post everything should be in moderation.
When somebody has rights, it required mechanism for their implementation, i.e. protection from violation by others: individuals, groups, corporations, government. Your rights corresponds to duties of others to respect, protect and provide you with mechanism of using those rights in accordance with available resources in particular.
Otherwise it going to be like in Soviet Union: “Citizen: Do I have a right? KGB Officer: Yes you do.C: Can I? O: You can not.”
There is no rights without duties, That is utopia.
As author of the article stated “Intolerance should be replaced by understanding. And unilateral values should yield to respect for differences while recognizing the importance of diversity.” Zero-sum games are counterproductive. Cooperation based on understanding is productive.
Respectfully, vas pup

hmm January 17, 2018 12:46 PM

“Trying to impose Western ideas on others is rightly perceived as modern Western imperialism and will be resisted by non-Westerners.”

China’s gov is an authoritarian info-totalitarian cabal regime. That’s no more an “eastern value” than you can say that US spying or military adventurism is a “western value” – it’s absurd to try to define an entire culture simply by what their government does by fiat without actual citizen approval.

The average Chinese lives their life much like anyone else in the world, and their values and goals are extremely similar to anyone else. When the US defends free speech on the internet it is defending not just a “western” value, but in fact a tenet of internet communication as we’ve built it. It was not designed to be a top-down centralized information pump. The ChiCom party wants to pervert the internet into that centralized censored role for its own goals, not completely unlike how Comcast wants to put up toll roads and impose limitations for its own monetary power-holding goals themselves.

Unfortunately as more western companies see this lucrative market in China and are willing to “appease” the totalitarianism by removing their pesky spines and catering to censorship – in fact enabling it – we are seeing those totalitarian norms becoming more and more acceptable and common on the larger internet. In fact we’ve become a seller of equipment and technology to enable this type of censorship/oppression all around the world, in allied semi-democratic nations and totalitarian human-rights violating regimes alike. That certainly is NOT a western value by any stretch of the imagination, yet here we are pushing it by profit-seeking fiat.

So before you accuse the US of ‘imposing’ the free internet on anybody consider that they’re certainly free to have their own closed subnet that the US has no cause or opportunity to criticize. Where you try to impose that restriction on the larger architecture is where the “imposition” is actually occurring, though I certainly wouldn’t blame “Eastern values” for that whatsoever – it’s ridiculous.

David Rudling January 17, 2018 1:34 PM

The link to the article comes back as Access Denied (to me at least). Causes me to perhaps wonder whether many people actually read the source article in full rather than your summary before projecting their pre-existing views as comments on it.

TRValentine January 17, 2018 1:35 PM

@hmm – I highly recommend The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently…and Why for definitive evidence that values and goals are not the same. Heck, Nisbett shows they don’t even think the same.

In the last decade, psychologists are questioning the value of all the studies based on experimental studies where the subjects were (largely) American university students. Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine, and Ara Norenzayan wrote an article, The Weirdest People in the World, where WEIRD refers to Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) which is worth reading. (Spoiler: WEIRD people are weird when compared to the rest of the world.)

hmm January 17, 2018 1:44 PM

“There really is no such thing as universal inalienable human rights because different places have different values.”

“The internet” doesn’t actually have the power to impose values. It’s not a monolith.

People seeking content on the internet has the power to import government-censored information.
If individuals in China didn’t want to circumvent these restrictions then they wouldn’t do it!

We’re already seeing a massive % of China is using VPN’s to do just that, more every day.
Are they all being imposed/controlled from the USA? It’s naive.

What you’re seeing is China’s government realizing it has to modernize for the information age.

That’s not being imposed by the ‘west’ either. Developing nations want to develop.
They’d come to this same crossroad eventually – it’s just too useful to keep bottled.
That paradigm shift comes slowly there as members of the party of Mao fade away.

They were used to being in control, they counted on it. Now they need to find a new means of it.
Old power brokers die hard. A comparison between the ChiComs and US telecom lobbies isn’t far off.

You could likely make the same argument that the internet was “imposed” on the US government too.
They sure weren’t entirely prepared for what it would become either. They tried to censor it too.
Like China we realized it’s a much more complicated undertaking than previous media control regimes.

The only difference is we got a head start initially. East/West is basically irrelevant to it.
If the internet began in China, the same things would have happened there first.

hmm January 17, 2018 2:07 PM

Sure, ‘East and West’ had different historical ideologies. Emphasis on historical.
Those differences applied more when they were completely isolated from each other.
That’s no longer the case. Our economics and China’s are intricately entwined now.

They saw growth and prosperity in open trade regimes and they moved to embrace that.
We didn’t exactly impose it, the desire to have food and stability demanded it locally.
The issue was their dinosaur government, not individual’s philosophies rejecting it.

Their censorship motive isn’t born out of Eastern philosophy any more than the East German Stasi was.
Chinese aren’t buying cell phones to access the internet to get at Mao’s dogma.

Arbitrary centralized top-down restrictions on society were always doomed to fail.
The internet simply eroded the mechanics of it faster than anyone could have predicted.

justina colmena January 17, 2018 3:13 PM

Interesting topics. I have met, or rather been accosted by, several politically active Chinese nationals here on the West Coast in the U.S. the last few days.

About three weeks ago at the Anchorage International Airport, I met a rather friendly, tall, large, well-muscled man who informed me he was from Shanghai, and asked me whether or not I thought that Hong Kong was part of “mainland” China.

(Of course, one may ask equally well whether or not Alaska is part of “continental” U.S.)

The question of “sovereignty” of places like Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Tibet is apparently more deep and sensitive that most of us in the U.S. would realize at first. If you look on a map, of course Hong Kong is part of mainland China, but Hong Kong is a large city, it has a mayor, it is very important, and some very important persons in Hong Kong feel apparently somewhat slighted if one says “Hong Kong, China” rather than just “Hong Kong,” but on the other hand, the Chinese government is very sensitive of any implied doubt of the “One China” policy of officially recognizing every place within its territory as part of China. The “sovereignty” of any political subdivision of China seems to be a political trick to trap “dissidents” in their words.

Then a few days ago, an older Chinese woman approached me in Seattle and asked me to sign a petition on behalf of Falun Gong, an extremely bizarre, brutally repressed, and mostly fictitious religious sect in China. I refused on the grounds of personal safety. This is another entrapment trick of the Chinese government.

Clive Robinson January 17, 2018 3:59 PM

Sorry folks, having read the seven page PDF I find it vacuous at best.

It reads as though the conclusion was written first with the obligatory shout out to “the big man” included as the author tried to roll it back to the current thought of point of view.

The Internet is a spider web design and the heart of it is in the US. Other countries are at liberty to set up their own national network (Natnet) but they would then need to work out how much colaberation they want with other nations Natnets etc.

My viewpoint is that like other communications networks the Internet should fall under the UN’s ITU, which currently it does not.

The Internet should be regarded like internation sea and airspace free from individual nations whims, the sooner the better for all.

TRValentine January 17, 2018 4:56 PM

@Anura – Those who know me would laugh at describing me as a moral nihilist. A moral relativist, might be closer, although I do accept there are some moral universals, just a lot fewer than many Westerners seem to claim. And very few of those would apply to the Internet.

Do you think there is a clear and always correct answer to the trolley problem? (I don’t.)

JJC January 17, 2018 5:14 PM

@justina colmena:

Falun Gong is not a tool of the Chinese government. The PRC banned them. The ROC’s relationship is one of perhaps “warm tolerance” (the leader is a Han racial supremacist in addition to everything).

The Falun Gong had footholds in places with large overseas Chinese populations.

Falun Gong is not a cover for anything. In fact, they’re reputation is negative enough that Falun Gong is a dirty word, and they operate under other names in their side ventures, like the Shen Yun theater company. Shin-chon-ji does the same. Scientology does the same. It’s Cult Management 101.

justina colmena January 17, 2018 6:31 PM


Falun Gong is not a tool of the Chinese government.

Perhaps not Falun Gong itself, but even in the U.S., undercover U.S. government agents have impersonated terrorist groups attempting to recruit individuals for illegal activities — perhaps after cutting off or subverting all a person’s legitimate friends and family.

The “entrapment” comes into play when all options for an individual to engage in “lawful” behavior are systematically denied and exhausted by government operatives or political enemies, and the targeted individual is then forced to resort to the friendship of banned groups and complicity in their illegal behavior just to survive.

I am not saying that the Chinese government itself engages in or approves of such “entrapment” at all, but an individual in any of various political circumstances may nevertheless have enemies who can compel or force a criminal prosecution to which that individual may have little or no legal defense or opportunity to avoid having to commit the crime in the first place.

I do not like that aspect of racialism or nationalism at all. At the same time, one must admit that a strict racially enforced “one-child” policy which only applies to the majority race only serves to aggravate the hatred of Han for Chinese minorities. (“I’m allowed to have children and you’re not, so ha, ha, ha!” — a very childish policy.)

their reputation is negative enough

Yup. They are being used as a cover for something, because I don’t give them much if any credit either as a bona fide religion or for whatever else they are blamed for.

hmm January 17, 2018 6:34 PM

The trolley problem = a sophie’s choice of killing 1 person or 5 people, depending on the switch flip.

It seems clear to me that devoid of other concerns, 5 is greater than 1. The balance is straightforward.
It isn’t nearly as clear when you add external variables or probabilities below 100% in the real world.

It doesn’t get you out of trouble for lumping “all westerners” or “all easterners” as groupthinks though.
There’s actually a lot of variability in both supersets. Especially when someone says “Asian” –
Do they mean India, China, Russia, Mideast? It’s kind of a HUGE AREA to apply a single blanket.

Maybe the lesson is to avoid the generalizing you don’t actually need to understand the world?

westerner who lived in china for many years January 18, 2018 12:42 AM

He’s saying lots of placating generic words that people of all persuasions can agree with, when they spin them with their own interpretations. Effectively therefore, it’s a whole lot of nothing. It’s mainly only interesting in the sense of being in awe at just how many words it can take to say nothing.

Here are some principles of China:

The venerable leader is always right, and what he says always goes. This applies to any level of leadership, as long as the leader’s leader isn’t there, then just go back to the previous sentence.

Might is right, whoever got there first has the right of way (until someone stronger/more powerful gets there), the strong always oppresses the weak.

The only one that matters is yourself, or your family, or your clan, or your company, or your city, or your country, or any other segment or group that you are a part of.

Anything you can get away with is good, right, just, even honorable. If you’re caught and disgraced, the disgrace is not in whatever evil you did (pfffft what is “evil” anyway), but because someone more powerful had it in for you, or you stepped on their toes, or some such.

Actually, now that I’ve moved back to the USA, and I’ve grown up a little, it seems those are often the same main governing principles here too. Oh how the great have fallen!

Wesley Parish January 18, 2018 1:26 AM

@westerner who lived in china for many years

Some uncommon common sense! Thanks.

Homo sapiens (or as some would have it, homo insipiens) is a fission-fusion social species. That is to say, we manage quite satisfactorily to operate as individuals and as group members of many different groups during our lifespan. Consequently, I’ve concluded that the group-vs-individual philosophical divide is so much hot air, no matter how many esteemed philosophers, etc, have embraced one side or the other.

Chinese literature, judging from the small sample in translation that I’ve managed to read, has exactly the same problems etc, as Western literature. Does he (or she) get the girl (or man)? Does he get the job? Does he feel job satisfaction? Etc …

I didn’t manage to read all the article before the feeling of being buried under tons of cotton wool made me give up.

A good antidote to the claim of complete cultural relativity is Epeli Hau’ofa’s wonderful Tales of the Tikongs; Kisses in the Nederends another good satirical assault on the funny-bone, though somewhat dated by the particular issues it satirizes.

westerner who lived in china for many years January 18, 2018 2:18 AM

@Wesley Parish

It’s not common sense in the sense that it’s the way things should always be… there are opposites to all those rules, such as:

The leader is not always right, everyone should think for themselves and not be mere mindless robots doing the leader’s whims. This does not mean chaos per se, if there are common guiding principles that everyone’s following that are even above the highest leader’s whims (we could even call these “morals”).

Might is not always right. Instead of oppressing the weak, the strong should help the weak, and lift them up and help strengthen them, teach them, and enable them. Instead of the strong being important and the weak being insignificant, every person is ultimately equal.

Everyone matters equally therefore, not just yourself. Every single life is precious. Think about others, not just yourself. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Relieve suffering instead of creating it.

Everyone should not be doing whatever they can get away with, but should voluntarily stay within their boundaries, because that’s good, right, honest, true, honorable, and even righteous. Everyone should have full freedom, yes, except for when that freedom encroaches upon others’ freedom, then freedom should be limited. Because everyone is equal, the world does not revolve around just you!

All these are opposite “common sense” principles than the ones I mentioned before. Adherence to principles like these mentioned here, helps society to become “free”… The ones I mentioned before helps society become “enslaved” instead.

What is free? Freedom to live without fear that someone stronger will pound you into nothing at their whim. Freedom to prosper, not at the expense of everyone else, but along with everyone else. Create more value together by working together instead of stealing value from each other and destroying each other like mindless crazed animals. And true freedom can only come by choice, not by force.

I could go on and on, I’ll stop here for now.

Winter January 18, 2018 4:08 AM

All this talk about “Westerners” and “Asians” etc. having different values is nonsense of a devious sort. All people are basically the same, they love their children and want peace and prosperity for those they love.

What is different is how people organize themselves into bigger groups. A good read about that is “Trust” by Fukuyama.

You get a long way if you look at whom people are willing to trust and whom not. At one end are the “Trust no one” folks, who end up living in mobster land (South end of Italy, Russia). Up one step are those who only trust relatives (China, north of Italy). You can go upward with progressively larger communities, all the way up to nation states (what seems to be the current end point). Funnily, with all the talk about “Asian social values” and “Religious happiness”, every cross cultural study always found the happiest people were those atheists who believed in their nation state and trusted their compatriots and their governments. Their mutual trust allows them to organize their countries well. Being able to organize on a grand scale, generally leads to prosperity, while the lack of such organizing skill leads to poverty.

What makes China different from the USA is that the Chinese have a mortal fear of chaos and civil war. They do not trust each other and rely on the Party to protect them against their compatriots and all those non-Han people who are after them.

Currently, the people in the US seem to neither trust their government nor their compatriots. What we see now is that the people in the US do not believe they can organize and achieve anything anymore (hence the joke about “Who could have build the Hoover dam? We certainly could not”). Meanwhile, the Chinese show they can achieve a lot of complex and highly sophisticated feats.

Me Ning January 18, 2018 4:45 AM

@ Winter, any chance you’ve got references?

every cross cultural study always found the happiest people were those atheists who believed in their nation state and trusted their compatriots and their governments

Winter January 18, 2018 5:07 AM

@Me Ning:
“@ Winter, any chance you’ve got references?”

There are too many to list them all. Here is a small sample.

Happiness and Life Satisfaction

The world happiness report:

And a much cited scientific study


Winter January 18, 2018 5:09 AM

@Me Ning:
“@ Winter, any chance you’ve got references?”

I forgot to mention. If you look at the top ten, these are all countries low in religion and high in individual freedom and trust.

JG4 January 18, 2018 5:54 AM

@Wael and Wael Impostor

It doesn’t take much more than your exchange to flesh out the rest of a useful model of human reality. The conflict of interest between people who just want peace and prosperity to raise their children and those disadvantaged by age, social status and/or history (e.g., persecution, slavery, etc.) creates tensions. Those tensions are manageable at tribal scale (up to 140 people) with some balance of capitalism and socialism, but lead to war with neighboring tribes over resources. Nation-states scale the stakes up to tens, hundreds and thousands of millions of people, who engage in the same tribal warfare that defined the last 400,000 years of human history. Except that they now use industrial-scale technology for genocide. Psychopaths and sociopaths exploit the tensions to implement businesses on both sides of the law. The guard labor exists to preserve the status quo as it is seen by those with money and power. The guard labor generally is corrupted by any successful business on either side of the law. Success here is defined as profitable and sustainable. The sustainability aspect leads to impressive gangland battles, where they test competitive advantage without the use of courts. Just tribal warfare in a different guise. We may also be seeing some testing of competitive advantages among the various businesses nominally on the legal side of the line, like the Five Horsemen, lamestream media, government leakers, and corporations. If I didn’t say it clearly enough, we need more win-win thinking, which is the bread and butter of legal businesses. I am cautiously optimistic that Trump can do some of that, but it’s not looking good.

echo January 18, 2018 7:33 AM

I read through this document and have previously read through the US strategy document, UK military strategy, and a commentary on Russian military doctrine. They are all interesting when viewed side by side with at least a loose understanding of history and context.

I believe within the context of the UN things are being worked out. The UN has many initiatives covering “hard” security and also diversity and poverty among others.

One example I would use if the promoting of transgender rights which I have made a loose comparison with the uptake of cameras. Pre-WWII Germany was innovating, post war this spread to the UK then America, then the Far East. While uptake is globally patchy the UE is generally very good as is the US to some degree, and relatively good in other countries including Russia, China, and Latin America as well as the pacific and Far-East. Africa is mostly a black hole apart from South Africa which is a beacon. Iran is the leading light in the Middle-East. Uptake within all of these areas is limited by internal politics but has its champions and, of course, there is some degree of cross fertilisation between nations globally which various technologies and policy approaches and community and media campaigns.

While I’m not sure the ITU is yet capable and may not strictly speaking the correct mechanism (according to the ITU profile on wiki) I believe this kind of context for the internet is worth considering, as suggested by Clive. I also believe hmm’s comments that developing nations want to develop is also true and the examples of either transgender rights or cameras (or equivalents) demonstrate.

I have a nasty habit of writing circular narratives and have read a fascinating essay on narrative styles. Pop philosophy also acknowledges that time is a helix not a line. Now Wwith regard to Cold War attitudes my sense is that in spite of habitual kneejerking there is a realisation and at the more responsible higher levels as expressed via the UN and international diplomacy there is no overriding desire to be irreversibly silly.

Denton Scratch January 18, 2018 8:01 AM

@JG4 “The last 400,000 years of human history”

  1. It depends what you mean by “human”. There appear to have been apes that walked upright 400,000 years ago, living in Africa; there is no evidence that they used language (or engaged in tribal warfare). As far as I am aware, our species has walked the planet for only about 30,000 years.

  2. “History” doesn’t mean simply “the past”; it means “the past as attested by some kind of evidence or record”. More usually, it means specifically “the past, as recorded by human chroniclers”. In that sense, history cannot reach more than about 3,000 years into the past. The term “pre-history” exists for a reason, and refers to past events attested only by myth, and by archaeological and geological evidence.

Winter January 18, 2018 8:06 AM

“As far as I am aware, our species has walked the planet for only about 30,000 years.”

Make that 100,000 and you are close to the consensus of a few years back. Nowadays, there are indications that 400k is closer to the mark.

But the rest of your account is sensible. Unto the introduction of agriculture and husbandry, there was little that comes even close to what JG4 describes.

Rachel January 18, 2018 8:44 AM


Falun Gong is also Shen Yun Theatre? ! Wow! Plus, says they have serious cash.
Would you mind explaining why ‘Falun Gongs reputation is dirty/negative as it is’ ? The only manifestation I’ve encountered is claims of brutal oppression. Disbelieving the components of their belief system is not a justified answer. (humble enquiry, genuinely interested)

David Rudling January 18, 2018 8:49 AM

@ Bruce
@ hmm

Turns out the onion router had placed me in Bucharest (Romania) from whence, rather bizarrely, the Center for Complex Operations website was denying me access. In a straight session from the UK I was able to access the document OK.

vas pup January 18, 2018 9:25 AM

@Winter: Chinese built the biggest dam in the world recently.
@TRV: Where universal moral come from? Are there any objective metrics or everything is in the eyes of observer/evaluator? Is it ok if moral comes out of particular religion, then transferred into Laws imposed by State on all regardless of their own religious preferences?
@all on role technology and government improvement – very informative:

PS. Love this blog (thanks Bruce)for spectrum of opinions on every subject and when argument is towards point of view, no person it has. That is diversity as I see.

Clive Robinson January 18, 2018 9:56 AM

@ Rachel,

Would you mind explaining why ‘Falun Gongs reputation is dirty/negative as it is’ ?

It rather depends on where you stand and when you formed your opinions…

The founder was a licenced master of a form of meditation and excercise. He took the idea further and included spiritulism. He wrote and made promotional material that whilst not expensive brought him a degree of wealth.

Falun Gong became very popular with supposedly tens of millions joining.

It was apparently originaly celerbrated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) because it saved a lot of money by promoting healthy life styles in older generations.

At some point the leader of the CCP decided it was some kind of threat and started to repress it. Only months later was it declaired a form of cult (apparently the “evil” is a deliberate misinterpretation of an ambiguous term).

From that point on it appears to have turned into an “Information Warfare” situation. The Wiki article on Falun Gong has an unenviable reputation for being in effect a flame war. With stories of CCP oppression being removed, likewise persistent stories of members being imprisoned in “reprograming centers” using heavy labour, tourture and psychological methods most would call brainwashing. Further other stories appearing of members setting themselves on fire, attacking each other including disembowling to find law wheels and all sorts of other atrocities. Whilst there is evidence of the oppression by the CCP, the stories of members burning themselves and attacking each other have been found to be false…

Apparently as part of the Cyber-espionage side of things China’s Unit 610 in the process of attacking Falun Gongs web pressence also as colateral damage caused attacks on US financial institutions.

There are other stories and appraisals by various organisations including the UK and US Government the EU and Amnesty International appear to have confirmed the oppression and other less plesant acts by the CCP.

There is also the case of a Chinese Diplomat to Australia who defected and indicated that upto 5000 Chinese agents pretending to be Falun Gong seeking political asylum then tracking down members of Falun Gong to find out who there relatives etc are as well as to carry on with “Cyber Espionage”.

China has a long history and fear of peaceful groups overthrowing political leadership going back to the 14th Century. Far East Asian cultures have a very different views on religion and politics to that of the West, which makes ubderstanding what is going on difficult at best.

What is also known is that there are a number of “Tar Pit” websites outside of China run by the CCP Agents, their purpose is to appear to be sympathetic with articles they publish. Then have many “Chinese posts” saying how evil Falun Gong are with personal stories that are horific but can not be verified. Apparently visitors to those sites can expect a vist to their IP address from the likes of Group 610. Which is very similar behaviour to that of the CCP and Tibetan sites and those who visited them who then had their Email etc attacked and caused even the normally CCP friendly Google to raise complaint.

Ross J Anderson had a write up about what Chinese Cyber-espionage via the likes of Group 610 had been upto against the Dalai Lama in 2007-9 via what was at the time called GhostNet.

There was the usual denials and over the top response from the agencies of the CCP that general suggests there is more than a grain of truth to such things.

Due the nature of those such as Group 610 and similar, it’s something I would treat as not a safe activity to investigate, unless you take suitable precautions that the likes of APT and malware investigators do.

Winter January 18, 2018 10:56 AM

Falun Gong

What I remember is that the Falun Gong had “infiltrated” the CP. High level party members had been Falun Gong members and tried to recruit other party members. To me it seems as if the CP sensed an attempted infiltration coup of the CP by the leader of the Falun Gong. Somewhat like what Erdogan accuses the Gülen movement of.

That would explain the iron fist approach of the Falun Gong.

Moderator January 18, 2018 11:34 AM

@Wael Imposter: Your comment has been deleted. Please choose another handle for commenting; “Wael” is in use by a long-time contributor to discussions. Impersonating others is not okay here.

Clive Robinson January 18, 2018 12:23 PM

@ Winter,

What I remember is that the Falun Gong had “infiltrated” the CP.

You mean “infiltrated” like the Boy Scouts did to congress 😉

I suspect that as the Falun Gong were being “talked up” at the time because of the money they were saving the Chinese Government on health care in the more senior members of the citizens joining in was kind of a requirment for Party Members.

Then “The Venerable leader” blew a fuse for reasons and the more thugish authoritarian follows got to polish their batons with pleasurable thoughts of bashing in the heads of those to old and honourable to fight back… There is certainly enough photographic evidence of that happening which the EU and UN have seen and made rulings on.

But as I said there is the Chinese Diplomate who defected who told of agents pretending to be political asylum seekers. If true will those unacounted for agents and the likes of the Chinese SigInt Groups be searching for people with sympathetic opinions?

Let’s just say based on what allegedly happened to the supporters of the Tibetans and Dali Lama I’d rather lead a quieter life…

Oh you might want to have a read of,

justina colmena January 18, 2018 12:43 PM

@westerner who lived in china for many years

Lucky you are living and have apparently made it back to the West…


“Wael” is in use by a long-time contributor to discussions. Impersonating others is not okay here.

Like many other readers, I am well aware that there is at least one long-time commentator calling him- or herself “Wael,” but with the commenting system on this site being what it is, lacking passwords and e-mail verification, there is no evidence that “Wael” is or should be expected to be always the same person.

“Wael” is apparently a common given name quite frequently chosen for a baby boy in some parts of the world. If “Wael” for some reason does not wish to be “impersonated,” then I suggest that he identify himself a little more specifically.

If something else was wrong with that particular comment, then that is a different matter. Otherwise, there is really no call to publicly accuse someone using such a common given name on the Internet of “impersonation,” which is actually an unjustified public accusation of criminal behavior.

This comment is posted from the public law library at the King County, Washington courthouse.

Wael January 18, 2018 1:08 PM

@justina colmena,

I am well aware that there is at least one long-time commentator calling him– or herself “Wael,”

Himself. and it’s my parents who gave me the name; I didn’t get to choose it. This is the meaning of the name, if you care to know.

If “Wael” for some reason does not wish to be “impersonated,” then I suggest that he identify himself a little more specifically.

I could easily do that, but the blog system needs to support certain functionalities. I can sign my postings (and the signature will not be obstructive — will not clutter the plaintext. Solve the recent puzzle and you’ll know what I mean.) How else do you suggest “he identify himself a little more specifically”, and how would that mitigate impersonations, assuming the other person is deliberately impersonating me? If the other person is not deliberately impersonating me, then it’s he who should identify himself more specifically since I am here before him. Curious to find out, perhaps an interesting discussion.

Otherwise, there is really no call to publicly accuse someone using such a common given name on the Internet of “impersonation,”

It’s I who prompted @Moderator that someone is impersonating me. It’s common blogging etiquette to not cause name collisions. Some people identify themselves as “The other Nick”, for example.

which is actually an unjustified public accusation of criminal behavior

Not criminal behavior. Just a note to not confuse others with name overloading. The other person could make comments that I wouldn’t make and cause me headaches I don’t need — not that I am very careful, but still…

Richard January 18, 2018 4:50 PM

It certainy raises some interesting issues. Great for Bryce to raise these issues once again.

Ratio January 18, 2018 7:11 PM

@Denton Scratch,

In that sense [“the past, as recorded by human chroniclers”] history cannot reach more than about 3,000 years into the past.

More like 5k.

@vas pup,

Where universal moral come from?

From universal humanity.

hmm January 19, 2018 3:05 AM

Turn on a TV in America, you see “navy seals” shooting various people.

Primetime. Literally.

And that’s if you avoid the news where Trump impeaches himself hourly.

I don’t see China as more bloodthirsty or revenge driven than the US.

Certainly not the current regime.

Dan H January 19, 2018 7:55 AM


I can honestly say I’ve never witnessed a seal brandishing a weapon. I didn’t know they had the dexterity to hold one, much less to be able to fire it.

Winter January 19, 2018 12:47 PM

“No, we are not. China is a nationalist project emerging from their bitter humiliations in the last century, especially at the hands of the ruthless, murderous Japanese. In China, this is topic number one.”

I do not see much difference in this propaganda with the propanda in Germany before WWII and post WWII USSR/Russia. It is easy to collect countless other examples.

Your other point have counterexamples in the rest of the world and history.

Cipper January 20, 2018 9:39 PM

China is such an interesting place. But the thing is that humiliations of the past have forged the will to compete with the West. And while we often criticize China for things like mass surveillance and face recognition and big brother mentality, isn’t the same thing happening in the West as well? The difference is that in the West we have let so called “democratic governments” impose those things and the goal these governments project is mass migration, race mixing, new genders and so on. Basically, they do the same things but they insist it’s for “good cause”, whereas the Chinese are projected as doing it for the “bad cause”.

I wonder where China would have been if the West had taken a different path and didn’t try to impose new agendas on other countries.

PearGranola January 21, 2018 8:47 AM

Interesting framework. It’s curious that they didn’t list businesses as a cyberspace actor. Since they own a lot of the infrastructure, services, and intellectual property it might make sense that they are already part of this sovereignty debate. Yet where are they in this framework?

Clive Robinson January 21, 2018 11:15 AM

@ Sam Weller,

Quite recently the Lotte company allowed the U.S. to station an advanced radar and missle system, THAAD, on land it owned in South Korea.

You along with most US or Chinese backed reporting are leaving out an important parts of the Lotte story or are deliberatly trying to twist the facts…

Yes Lotte DID own the land past tense, they had a business running on it that from what has been said was quite profitable. Thus Lotte did not want to sell the land or have to close down the business. Lotte spent considerable time and effort trying not to have to give up both. As Shin Dong-bin, Lotte’s chairman, has said he had no choice but to comply and sell the golf course to the Korean Government. Behind that is what happened with the US Foreign Policy.

The US made clear to the Korean authorities they wanted that land for an autonomous US enclave for THAAD. That is it would in effect become US controled land in all but name. Just like many listening posts and military complexes the US has strong armed in other countries.

The South Korean executive who prior to the election were rapidly right wing US supplicating acted as the middle men for the US and gave Lotte no choice and made it clear that they wanted the land for the US and THAAD, and put major preasure on Lotte, who fought back as best they could which delayed things.

Nobody in the US or Chinese backed press appears to be asking the important questions of,

1, Why would Lotte sell the land that was profitable to them?

2, Why the US want that particular piece of land?

When they do, they might want to review their stories. We have seen this US behaviour before in Turkey with Russia and other parts of Europe and why London got christened “Ash City”. And for those that are old enough to rememder the early 1960’s how the US responded when Russia did similar with Cuba. As far as the US is concerned it’s one rule for them and other rules for the rest of the world. Effectively “Do unto others, and smite those who respond in kind” the modern version of tyranical and often mad kings “Divine Right”.

For some reason the US backed/sympathetic press want to make China appear the bully, not the US. Likewise the Chinese press want to make out it’s Lotte to blaim. Neither viewpoint is factually correct, as it is US Foreign Policy at work, that is actually at the bottom of it.

Half a century ago it would have been another Korean or Vietnamese Proxie war killing millions of people today it’s still about manipulating Foreign Governments into doing US bidding, just a little less obviously murderous.

The likes of Lotte and their Chinese employees realy do not matter in this game, as neither the US or Chinese government cares one jot about any of them.

Basicalky both the US and Chinese governments want to force South Korea into their Foreign Policy goals. And to be honest the Chinese have way more leverage than the US does as they can easily blockade the seas around South Korea which is the only way South Korea can trade with the rest of the World. As I’ve noted before China is taking active measures against other nations in the area it sees as being backed by the US and have made it clear that they regard the whole of the South China Seas as their exclusive domain and have sunk ships and built artificial islands to enforce this.

Which is probably why the new South Korean PM is trying another route and THAAD is at the very least on hold, and the NSA amongst others have had their “offers of assistance” prior to the olympics negated (SK realy does not want to be another Greece if it can avoid it).

However the Chinese also have to watch what they do South Korean products are liked a lot in China especially with the newly rich and SK likewise buys a lot of these Chinese entrepreneurs goods. A Mutually Agreed Destruction trade war with SK is not what the Chinese government wants as it is to public in China and will get the CCP actions commented on.

Also the South Korean’s could decide to make it even more public if they wish by revoking the visas of Chinese visitors.

Likewise the Chinese competitors in next months Olympics, for some reason say on medical grounds
with overtones / implications of Chinese close to the CCP are dirty/diseased. Or doping with overtones / implications that Chinese close to the CCP are cheating dope fiends etc.

With a little more effort it would not be too difficult to say blaim China for various flu strains, SARS etc. Which are known to cause pandemics, and lay the blaim at poor Chinese animal wealfare in farming etc or poor healthcare in the Chinese population. Thus any maner of humiliating shaming giving rise to loss of face that is so very important in the many asian cultures and nations…

This sort of tit for tat behaviour can go on for a long time, the question is how long are the US war hawks going to keep pushing at China through South Korea as a proxie before it goes to far?

South Korea could start refusing US visitors and military over flights etc aimed at NK, China or Russia. Donald Trump has not made himself popular in South Korea which may not end well over all.

As for THAAD based on previous US anti-missile systems it is unlikely to be effective, thus is realy being pushed at US home citizens. In essence to stop them worrying about North Korea. And NK’s main issue is keeping the US War hawks “out of their yard”.

The North Koreans have developed what is a “dead hand” nuclear deterant not an offensive strike system. They know that they can not win a conventional war against the US that the US War Hawks have been trying to stir up for sixty years. They likewise know they can not win a nuclear war with the US. So at first glance the NK nuclear delivery and weapons systems appear as vanity projects, but appearances can be deceiving.

What NK does know is that it could take out a few million US citizens in one or two major US cities tops. For which in return they would get the destruction of North Korea. That is irrespective of the possiblity it would be followed by nuclear strikes from both China and Russia against the US. But that is not of concern to NK.

What it boils down to is that NK holds a creditable threat against a very small fraction of US citizens, not even 1% of them. But that is enough for US Foreign Policy towards NK to change, as it has done for other nations like India and Pakistan. Which is probably why the NK leadership has been more relaxed and entered into talks with South Korea, which will lead if left alone by Japan, Taiwan and US to a softening if not opening of the NK/SK boarder zone and the start of industrial partnerships again (which the US has always railed against).

The thing is a NK/SK tie up would be a serious economic threat to the other tiger economies, which in turn would weaken US influence in the region. Which might account for why Russia and China want to get around the table with both Koreas as soon as possible, whilst leaving the US and Canadians out of it to have their own silly little talks.

Thus the real question is what will happen with regards US Foreign Policy, which is already in tatters over Iran with even the usually suplicant UN calling the US out for perfidity.

Other nations are in effect waking up to the realisation of what the US is upto one way or another. And the concensus is moving away from “the US being the good guys” especially with the public in those nations calling into question what their own political leadership is upto with the US. Obama’s Trade Deals were unmasked and caused an outcry which means all future deals with the US will get more scrutiny.

So for those outside the US draw up your comfy chairs and start making the popcorn. As for those in the US have a look for those 1950s/60s cold war duck and cover books and those essential brown paper bags, and hope your war hawks don’t get their way as your zip code may be on a North Korean plotting table. You could write to your congress critter, but they are probably more worried about the build up to the midterm elections. After all they’ve got to make sure the smile is bright and the palms of the hands dry and firm and a good supply of lip balm for all that baby kissing etc 😉

Sam Weller January 22, 2018 9:11 AM

@Clive Robinson

You are right about the details. My point was about the sensitivity of the Chinese to enemy military high-technology. In China, I showed up to a Lotte store near my flat one day, and they were having a big sale, a closing sale that is. I asked why. The answer I got was something about a golf course, Lotte, American missiles, and an evil radar in South Korea.

It does not matter to the Chinese about the nitty-gritty of the deal. This is interesting: there is a broken relationship in this story, and that explains the vehemence and anger behind Lotte’s expulsion. The point is that Lotte did not bend to the will of its Chinese friends. From their view, they were betrayed. They are the bosses, and the bosses did not get their way–unacceptable.

Read about Marriott and how they bend like yoga masters in order to make the Chinese happy. Kowtowing is required. Marriott hits the floor five times with its forehead. It is in today’s Washington Post.

Lotte said “you do not matter” to the Chinese. Lotte did not stop the U.S. missile system from being placed on land they had influence over. China said zai jian, hit the road–no more making money in the Middle Kingdom.

vas pup January 22, 2018 10:07 AM

@all: maybe it could be better negotiator with China, Russia, even N Korea. The point it is NOT based on zero sum game:

“Let’s make a deal: Could AI compromise better than humans?

Researchers developed an algorithm that teaches machines not just to win games, but to cooperate and compromise — and sometimes do a little trash-talking too.
“The end goal is that we understand the mathematics behind cooperation with people and what attributes artificial intelligence needs to develop social skills,” said Crandall, whose study was recently published in Nature Communications. “AI needs to be able to respond to us and articulate what it’s doing. It has to be able to interact with other people.”
“In society, relationships break down all the time,” he said. “People that were friends for years all of a sudden become enemies. Because the machine is often actually better at reaching these compromises than we are, it can potentially teach us how to do this better.”

Clive Robinson January 22, 2018 10:18 AM

@ Sam Weller,

Lotte said “you do not matter” to the Chinese. Lotte did not stop the U.S. missile system from being placed on land they had influence over.

Not true at all. Lotte had absolutly no control over the process. Look up “eminent domain”[1]. It’s a “might is right” excuse to take land and property. It does not even require the need to give compensation, let alone fair market price.

Something many Chinese have found out, the hard way, and the Chinese Government know only to well as they are also trying the same trick in the South China Seas.

Thus to attack Lotte and their Chinese employees is compleatly and uterly unjustified[2]. It is as I indicated a Super Power p1551ng Contest between the US and Chinese Foreign Policy and who has more grip on South Korea’s Government.

It is without doubt the first major shot across Donald Trumps First Term North Korean Policy and it is without doubt going to get worse a lot worse. South Korea and it’s businesses and their chinese employees are just a proxie. That nither the US or CCP give one iota of care about. It’s why the new South Korean PM is trying a “third way”. But I doubt you get to read much about that, just as most US MSM media readers don’t get to read much if abything about it.

[1] From Merriam Websters Dictionary,

Eminent Domain, noun : A right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction.

[2] It would be the same as me blaiming you for alowing Chinese Military aircraft to fly across your residence in suport of attacking fishermen in the South China Seas and you doing nothing to stop it, thus using it as an excuse to take away your home and it’s contents etc.

Jon (fD) January 23, 2018 2:21 AM


If it is a common name and you know it is a common name, ‘just being first’ doesn’t give you any rights to a unique name at all. Their name is just as valid as yours.

If someone else chooses to use the same common name as you, it’s your problem, not theirs.

Jon (fD), meaning “I am the Jon from Denver” who marks my name that way. I distinguish myself. I have no exclusive right to the name or userID “Jon”.

Deliberate impersonation is another matter.

Jon (fD)

Wael January 23, 2018 2:34 AM

@Jon (fD),

If it is a common name and you know it is a common name…

It’s not. I should stop there, but… If I am Jon from Dallas and choose to to sign as Jon (fD), whose problem is that? It’s really not a problem, and not a big deal. But if I am malicious I could post things that are not appropriate under your name. I could get you banned, I could cause you other problems.

It’s about etiquette, not who has the right. If I saw someone posting with a given name and I am new, then I ought to distinguish myself from the name that’s already on the the board.

Wael January 23, 2018 2:45 AM

@Jon (fD),

Forgot to ask:

If someone else chooses to use the same common name as you, it’s your problem, not theirs.

How so?

anonymous January 23, 2018 10:42 AM

Very interesing paper, if you ignore als the intentional eloquent contradictions.
Lets try to break it down.
Past: Nation Laws/Privileges People
Present: Nation Laws/Privileges People Laws/Privileges Internet

It means that Laws and Privileges of another domain interfere with the nations establishment.
In fact, it means that “multiple” other domains interfere with one’s nation.

This leaves us with 2 options:
1. Keep the others out
2. If you can’t stop them, join them.

Imho: Thinking about the chinise social scoring system, I think by “join them” they mean “join them under us” or “make them a part of us”.

Like he states: “… in order to achieve the greatest common denominator and greatest acceptance by the international community.”

This can, of course, not happen in an open confrontation. That might be the key reason why their social scoring system targets the “reward” addiction. If everyone decides to be part of them for their own “benefit”, all of his three perspectives can be controlled.

The only problem that remains is: Even rewards have an upper limit.

Prins van de Schemering January 24, 2018 3:01 AM


Oh ye of little faith! Just wait till President Chump Frump Trump gets around to selling the South Koreans the F 52. It’ll have a built-in AI so powerful that even President Chump Frump Trump will be able to fly it, with the smarts to refuse to fly as long as he is in the pilot’s seat.

The South Koreans in self-defense will foist it on the North Koreans, and peace will break out on the Korean Peninsular after 50-odd years!

Sam Weller February 3, 2018 7:30 AM

@ Clive Robinson

You obviously have a very strong understanding of much of this issue surrounding Lotte and THAAD. I especially liked it when you said, “Basically both the US and Chinese governments want to force South Korea into their Foreign Policy goals.” I think so too. Maybe you are right, maybe the U.S. chose that particular piece of land in order to cause a kerfuffle. But be honest about it: is the U.S.–these days– that organized, that smart?

The point I am trying to push is that the Chinese do not play the same way we do. For them, this THAAD issue is a broken relationship. Look at South Korea: it’s gangster city, very corrupt from the Blue House down, and power gets things done. The Chinese are looking at their drinking buddies (who control “routes”) across the way and they are wondering why things did not happen the way they had hoped. I am quite sure they feel betrayed. Maybe the U.S. did provoke the break, I don’t know.

But choosing that particular spot might of had something to do with the needs of the radar system, especially since South Korea is so hilly and rugged.

I will say this: I think the DPRK did not really give a hoot about the U.S. until quite recently. Mr. Basketball was casting worried glances towards Beijing–until he killed Kim Jong-nam. Of course, he had some good laughs, about that and about having the entire U.S. war plan in his pocket, something above 4 terabytes (it was reported in the S. Korean press).

In my crystal ball, and this is a grim assessment, I think the DPRK has a lot more access to U.S. plans and intentions than the un-astonished would believe. And I am not talking about stealing things on South Korean government computers run by schmendricks. I am talking about real HUMINT, the kind the U.S. has forgotten to do. I think a little bird flew to KJU’s ear recently and said that DJT was getting ready to knock your teeth out and flatten parts of scenic Pyongyang, and that is why he suddenly became Mr. Friendly.

Lastly, that radar is likely to come in handy soon, unfortunately. Cheers.

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook February 3, 2018 10:24 AM

@Sam Weller,

Lastly, that radar is likely to come in handy soon, unfortunately. Cheers.

Give him some time to respond. If my interpretation is correct, he encoded a message[1] through a recent nom de plume — that came from a name he gave to me; a puppeteer who hosts a bunch of cats. He’s been suffering heart and breathing problems, and is likely scheduled or is undergoing some serious procedure. Wish him well, instead.

[1] Sometimes we exchange encoded messages through poetry — mostly Shakespeare’s, him being from where he is…

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