Category Archives: Sovereignty

The winds of net-war: China warns of US arms race in cyberspace

Staking territory in cyberspace

In recent weeks the Chinese government has delivered strong messages about internet sovereignty to both international and domestic audiences. Despite confirming its commitment to working with the rest of the international community “to create a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space”, Beijing has given every indication that it regards recent acts of US cyber-aggression as signaling the onset of a new internet-based cold war.

Early in June, the Chinese foreign ministry and the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific co-hosted the International Workshop on Information and Cyber Security in Beijing. In his opening address in front of international media and representatives of 20 nations and international organizations, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong launched a blistering attack on the US for turning the internet into a new great power battlespace.

Minister Li condemned the massive-scale surveillance activities by an “individual country”, which have “severely infringed on other countries’ sovereignty and their citizen’s privacy”. “Instead of reflecting on its behaviors that undermine the sovereignty of other countries and privacy of citizens”, alleged Minister Li, “it has painted itself as a victim and made groundless accusations against or defamed other countries”… read on at the DiploFoundation

 

The Perils and Potential of Visa Diplomacy: An Immigration Practitioner’s Perspective

The literature on the relationship between public diplomacy and visas is as polarized as the effects that a nation’s visa policy can have on its image. Visa liberalization policies, such as the broadening of visa waiver programs, can often enhance a nation’s public diplomacy strategy. But this same strategy can be severely undermined by the security-driven imposition of visa red tape. In both cases, the literature closely mimics views expressed in online visa forums and in embassies’ visa section waiting rooms the world over: that entry to another country is regarded by travelers as a basic human right, and visa red tape a violation of that right.

Rubbing up against this, of course, is the sovereign right exercised by states to protect their territorial integrity by regulating their borders. Visa regimes – and their practitioners – are caught between the seemingly dichotomous objectives of facilitating bona fide travelers and migrants on the one hand and preventing nonbona fide movements of people on the other… read on at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy’s CPD Blog

USA Embassy

[Seal of an Embassy of the United States of America – a familiar image for those in waiting in long US visa queues]

 

Center to Periphery (Part II): territorial sovereignty in Chinese cyberspace

This post is Part Two of a two-part piece, the first of which was posted on 02 December on the DiploFoundation’s Internet Governance channel.

In late November, Reuters reported Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google Inc, as forecasting that the rise of social media in China will lead to liberalization. “You won’t be able to stop it”, he stated, “even if you don’t like it.” In another November report, Reuters quoted Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, as saying that Beijing will ultimately free up China’s internet for economic reasons. “The Berlin Wall tumbled down, the great firewall of China – I don’t think it will tumble down, I think it will be released.”

In the early 1980s, it was Deng Xiaoping’s policies of ‘reform and opening up’ that had prompted foreign commentators to predict that China’s days as an authoritarian state were numbered. Liberal thinkers jumped quickly to the conclusion that China’s experimentation with capitalism in designated zones on its coastal peripheries would lead inevitably to democratization.

That was 30 years ago. Since then, radical economic liberalization has been wrought across China, resulting in historically unprecedented economic and social transformation. But despite the predictions, these winds of change have carried with them not the slightest hint of political liberalization.

It would appear that Schmidt and Berners-Lee see the internet as the missing ingredient. Available evidence would suggest otherwise.

In part one of this post, I used a center-periphery approach to provide an overview of how Beijing controls and utilizes China’s geopolitical space. In this part, I consider how Beijing’s management of geopolitical space is paralleled in the virtual world and in how Beijing controls its cyber borders. Read more…

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[Shanghai – host of a new pilot free trade zone]