China And Cybersecurity

Title:                      China And Cybersecurity

Author:                 Jon R. Lindsay

Lindsay, Jon R. (2015), Tai Ming Cheung, and Derek S. Reveron, eds. China And Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, And Politics in The Digital Domain. New York: Oxford University Press

LCCN:    2014046287

HV6773.15.C97 C45 2015


  • “China’s emergence as a great power in the twenty-first century is strongly enabled by cyberspace. Leveraged information technology integrates Chinese firms into the global economy, modernizes infrastructure, and increases internet penetration which helps boost export-led growth. China’s pursuit of “informatization” reconstructs industrial sectors and solidifies the transformation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army into a formidable regional power. Even as the government censors content online, China has one of the fastest growing internet populations and most of the technology is created and used by civilians. Western political discourse on cybersecurity is dominated by news of Chinese military development of cyberwarfare capabilities and cyber exploitation against foreign governments, corporations, and non-governmental organizations. Western accounts, however, tell only one side of the story. Chinese leaders are also concerned with cyber insecurity, and Chinese authors frequently note that China is also a victim of foreign cyber attacks, predominantly from the United States. China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain is a comprehensive analysis of China’s cyberspace threats and policies. The contributors—Chinese specialists in cyber dynamics, experts on China, and experts on the use of information technology between China and the West—address cyberspace threats and policies, emphasizing the vantage points of China and the U.S. on cyber exploitation and the possibilities for more positive coordination with the West. The volume’s multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural approach does not pretend to offer wholesale resolutions. Contributors take different stances on how problems may be analyzed and reduced, and aim to inform the international audience of how China’s political, economic, and security systems shape cyber activities. The compilation provides empirical and evaluative depth on the deepening dependence on shared global information infrastructure and the growing willingness to exploit it for political or economic gain”—Provided by publisher.


  • Machine generated contents note: — Introduction — China and Cybersecurity: Controversy and Context — Jon R. Lindsay — I. ESPIONAGE AND CYBERCRIME — 1. The Chinese Intelligence Services: Evolution and Empowerment in Cyberspace — Nigel Inkster — 2. From Exploitation to Innovation: Acquisition, Absorption, and Application — Jon R. Lindsay and Tai Ming Cheung — 3. Investigating the Chinese Online Underground Economy — Zhuge Jianwei, Gu Lion, Duan Haixin, and Taylor Roberts — II. MILITARY STRATEGY AND INSTITUTIONS — 4. From Cyberwarfare to Cybersecurity in the Asia-Pacific and Beyond — Ye Zheng — 5. Chinese Writings on Cyber Warfare and Coercion — Kevin Pollpeter — 6. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Computer Network Operations Infrastructure — Mark A. Stokes — 7. Civil-Military Integration in Cybersecurity: A Study of Chinese Information Warfare Militias — Robert Sheldon and Joe McReynolds — III. NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY POLICY — 8. China’s Cybersecurity Situation and the Potential for International Cooperation — Li Yuxiao and Xu Lu — 9. Evolving Legal Frameworks for Protecting Internet Privacy in China — Xu Jinghong — 10. “Foreign Hostile Forces”: The Human Rights Dimension of China’s Cyber Campaigns — Sarah McKune — IV. PRACTICAL AND THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS — 11. China and Information Security Threats: Policy Responses in the United States — Fred H. Cate — Conclusion — The Rise of China and the Future of Cybersecurity — Jon R. Lindsay and Derek S. Reveron — Index.

LC Subjects

Other Subjects

  • COMPUTERS / Internet / Security.
  • POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security.
  • BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / Economics.

Date Posted:      September 21, 2017

Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[1]

“Born in a US university laboratory in the 1960s, the Internet is one of the most successful inventions in human history.” (p. 123) This acknowledgment by Ye Zheng, a senior colonel in China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), reflects the more objective non-ideological analysis found in each of the five contributions by Chinese specialists in China and Cybersecurity. Moreover, they agree, in general, with the other authors from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom about the importance of cybersecurity in foreign relations and domestic security, and the problems encountered. The latter include technical complexity, secrecy, privacy, national security constraints, and the form of government concerned. Understanding how these factors interact when they are complicated by cultural, political, economic, and military issues is the purpose of China and Cybersecurity. Each of the papers examines China’s cybersecurity program and its relationship with other nations.

In his introductory chapter, “Controversy and Context,” co-editor Jon Lindsay discusses how the Internet era has influenced China domestically and in its relationships with other nations, especially the United States. Western analysts, he suggests, see China as “the source and target of extensive cyber exploitation.” China agrees with the latter but views the former, in part, as “a thief crying, ‘Stop, thief!”‘ (p. 3) China and Cybersecurity “investigates how China both generates and copes with Internet insecurity through its close attention to its domestic institutions and processes.” (p. 4) Its 12 chapters, divided into four parts, cover the following areas: espionage and cyber crime, military strategy and institutions, national cybersecurity policy, and practical and theoretical implications.

Part I looks at the current organization, missions, and general tradecraft of China’s principal intelligence services—the Ministry of State Security (MSS) and the intelligence departments of the PLA. Cyber espionage and cyber (online) crime are also discussed. The former raises traditional issues due to secrecy, while the latter raises new challenges due to the nature of the Internet and the volume of users.

Part II argues that national security is now dependent on cyberspace and its security. Forms of cyberwarfare, “a hidden and quiet type of combat,” (p. 125) are examined, along with Chinese writings on the subject. Coercive applications as applied by the PLA, the role of information warfare militias, and the problems of civil-military integration are also assessed.

Part III deals with China’s cybersecurity and the need for policies that account for the fact that “China has the largest number of users around the world.” (p. 228) This part of the book also considers the legal frameworks required to protect the right to privacy in China, and the “ideological and institutional differences” (p. 239) between China and the United States. It concludes with a call for “a China-US bilateral dialogue” (p. 240) to sort out common problems.

The final part of China and Cybersecurity considers China’s information security threats to the United States, the reasons for the US “political and diplomatic inability” (p. b325) to deal with them effectively, and suggestions for surmounting these shortcomings.

For all but the best-informed analysts, China and Cybersecurity—a thoroughly documented treatise-offers new material and new perspectives on a topic that will be a major part of global cybersecurity for the foreseeable future.

[1] Peake, Hayden in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (23, 1 Summer 2017, p. 123). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence, Other reviews and articles may be found online at

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