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China's Cyberspace Strategy (Pt. I) – Vocabulary


China’s national strategy for cyberspace is breathtaking in its comprehensiveness. It recognizes the importance of the Internet in all domains of human activity (education, science, business, communications), but also acknowledges what it views as being major problems with the Internet as it operates now.


没有 网络 安全 就 没有 国家 安全 (méiyǒu wǎngluò ānquán jiù méiyǒu guójiā ānquán) Without cyber security, there is no national security.

网络空间 是 国家 主权 的 新疆域 (wǎngluòkōngjiān shì guójiā zhǔquán dí xīn jiāngyù) Cyberspace is the new territory of national sovereignty. (Lit. Cyberspace is national sovereignty [of] new territory.)

网络 攻击 威胁 经济 安全 (wǎngluò gōngjī wēixié jīngjì ānquán) Cyber attacks threaten economic security.

网络 有害 信息 侵蚀 文化 安全 (wǎngluò yǒuhài xìnxī qīnshí wénhuà ānquán) Harmful online information corrodes cultural security.


NB: Many of the terms are more or less the same as in English, others are different for two reasons: First, there is an inherent ambiguity in the Chinese language that makes it possible for a work (or character combination) to have a number of meanings in English, some narrow some general; Second, even though some of the terms translate into English, the context of the Chinese text indicates that their meaning actually is slightly different or may have a specific Chinese context.

In addition, a few terms are used in a way that indicate the overall policy thrust of the Chinese government both internally and in international fora, and this is noted.

We have inserted spaces into the Chinese phrases to separate the characters into words, usually two-characters in length. In written Chinese, there is no spacing between words. After the characters, we have inserted the romanization of the characters with the Mandarin 4-tone accent marks, and also clustered together these into words with spaces.

The order is according to the romanization of the Chinese. This is because there are numerous variations in the english equivalents (or semi-equivalents).


安全 (ān quán) Security.


暴力 (bàolì) Violence. This refers to content. (It is peculiar that violent gaming is very popular in China.) We can conclude that this refers to the use of the Internet to provoke or condone violence or political upheaval.


颠覆 (diānfù) Subversion.


多边 国际 互联 网治 理体 系 (duōbiān guójì hùlián wǎngzhì lǐtǐ xì) Multilateral (international) network governance system.


道德 失范 (dàodé shīfàn) Moral anomie; moral degeneracy.


分裂 国家 (fēnliè guójiā) Split the country; separatism. This refers to any communications on the Internet that discuss the break-up of China. Examples would be Tibet, which was occupied by China in the 1950s, and also Occupied East Turkistan, which is occupied by China. It is specifically prohibited to communicate information that would suggest any change in current political arrangements.


国家 关键 信息 基础 设施 (guójiā guānjiàn xìnxī jīchǔshèshī) National critical information infrastructure. This definition appears to be the same as in the West.


公众 监督 (gōngzhòng jiāndū) Public supervision. This refers to government “control” of the Internet and its content, but also control over all aspects of the technology, including standards, governance procedures, domain name registration, and so on.


国家 网络 安全 保障 体系 (guójiā wǎngluò ānquán bǎozhàng tǐxì) National network safety protection system; national network security system.


规则 制定 权 (guīzé zhìdìng quán) Right to make rules; Internet governance.


关键 信息 基础设施 (guānjiàn xìnxī jīchǔshèshī) Critical information infrastructure.


计算机 病毒 (jìsuànjī bìngdú) Computer virus; malware.


迷信 (míxìn) Blind faith; superstition. This refers to what the West would call “religion”. In other words, the spreading of “superstition” is considered to be a danger on the Internet. It is in the class of information that must be controlled and weeded out.


渗透 (shèntòu) Penetration. This term is used for hacking, that is, the illicit access to an information system through the Internet.


数字 鸿沟 (shùzì hónggōu) Digital divide. This is the standard terminology used to express the difference in access to information technology between the developed and developing countries. It is a holdover from the New World Information Order that was started originally in UNESCO as an anti-Western movement seeking government control over mass media.

社会 主义 核心 价值 观 (shèhuìzhǔyì héxīn jiàzhí guān) Socialist core values viewpoint. This term is used to express what China believes should be a guiding principle in content available through the Internet. The other side is that is that information without this viewpoint is officially not welcome.


颓废 文化 (tuífèi wénhuà) Decadent culture; dispirited culture. This term refers to content on the Internet that does not have the correct and acceptable point of view or theme.


网络 (wǎngluò) The internet.


文化 安全 (wénhuà ānquán) Cultural security. This term refers to a vulnerability caused by the Internet, by Cyberspace. There is a fear that without appropriate control, the Internet will harm “cultural security”. This term is alien and more or less unknown in the West.

网络 安全 (wǎngluò ānquán) Cyber security, network security; network protection.


网络 安全 防御 (wǎngluò ānquán fángyù) Network security defense; cybersecurity defense. This term is general in nature and does not specifically refer to actions of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).


网络 安全 审查 制度 (wǎngluò ānquán shěnchá zhìdù) Network security review system. This term refers to a national program or set of policies that will enforce security checks on the Internet, that is, on the entire Internet within China. By necessity, it is a centrally directed effort of the government.


网络 空间 冲突 (wǎngluò kōngjiān chōngtū) Cyberspace conflict. There is no specific example of this. For example, it is not clear if it applies to only the technology and network level or also includes information operations. Within the context of the overall policy, it would include information operations. Therefore, we can conclude that providing unacceptable information into China is a form a aggressing leading to cyberspace conflict.

网络 空间 (wǎngluò kōngjiān) Cyberspace.


网络 空间 国际 规则 (wǎngluò kōngjiān guójì guīzé) International rules for cyberspace. In the Chinese point of view, this term refers to a negotiated set of treaties and international agreements that will govern the Internet. These rules and norms will be negotiated by countries. This model of Internet Governance is not compatible with the Western point of view which emphasizes a multi-stakeholder approach.

网络 空间 国际 反恐 公约 (wǎngluò kōngjiān guójì fǎnkǒng gōngyuē) International convention against terrorism in cyberspace; (Lit. Internet (cyber) international against terrorism convention). There is no such convention, but it is interesting that China is interested in the negotiation of such a treaty.


网络 空间 军备 竞赛 (wǎngluò kōngjiān jūnbèi jìngsài) Cyberspace Arms Race; Internet space arms competition. Although China recognizes there there is a cyber arms race, there is no discussion we have seen of a desire for an international treaty to limit the proliferation of cyber weapons.


网络 空间 秩序 (wǎngluò kōngjiān zhìxù) Cyberspace order. This term to refer to internal Internet conditions (within China), and also internationally. It reflects the China ideal notion of a type of stable and “ordered” international information system of Internet and “cyber space”.

网络 空间 治理 (wǎngluò kōngjiān zhìlǐ) Cyberspace governance; internet governance.

网络 空间 主权 (wǎngluò kōngjiān zhǔquán) Cyberspace sovereignty. This is a broad concept. In general, it considers that Chinese networks are integral to the nation and themselves are connected with national sovereignty. Therefore, an attack on Chinese cyberspace is the same as an attack on the landmass of China.

网络 空间 战略 资源 (wǎngluò kōngjiān zhànlüè zīyuán) Strategic resources of cyberspace. This concept does not appear in Western thinking and may be a unique perspective in China. It considers that cyberspace is a type of territory in which there are various “resources” that can be acquired and controlled. In the Chinese view, it is an important aspect of national cyberspace policy to acquire and control these resources.


网络 伦理 (wǎngluò lúnlǐ) Network ethics. Behavioral aspects of citizen activities online.


网上 思想 文化 (wǎngshàng sīxiǎng wénhuà) Online ideology and culture. This refers to type of values and behaviors of people that spend much time online, and to expected behavior and cultural norms presented.


网络 窃密 (wǎngluò qièmì) Cyber espionage; Using the Internet to steal secret information. China does not specifically define “secret” information, but in practice has a very broad definition. Chinese rules concerning cyber espionage are similar to other countries.

WW 网络 威

慑 战略 (wǎngluò wēishè zhànlüè) Cyber deterrence strategy. There is no specific discussion of this in the cyber context. However, it presumably means that it is official Chinese policy to develop cyber weapons that can be used to counter-attack in case China itself is attacked in cyberspace.


网络 谣言 (wǎngluò yáoyán) Network rumors; Fake news and false information spread through social media. This is another class of prohibited information. The Chinese government spends significant resources on monitoring and controlling rumors.


信息 传播 秩序 (xìnxī chuánbō zhìxù) Information dissemination order. Here the term “order” refers to a state in which everything is under strict control. So this implies that how information is distributed, and what the information is, should be under strict control. This, of course, is incompatible with Western thinking. It also may be incompatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


淫秽 (yínhuì) Obscenity. Same meaning as in the West, but obscene information is specifically prohibited by national policy. There is no exact definition of obscenity.


应急 响应 (yīngjí xiǎngyīng) Emergency response. This has the same meaning as in English, and in the West. It refers to quick response in case of a computer network emergency, such as a massive denial of service attack.

有害 信息 (yǒuhài xìnxī) Harmful information.

有害 信息 (yǒuhài xìnxī) Harmful information (harmful to national security or national interests). Chinese doctrine defines large classes of harmful information, and there is a specific policy to prevent this harmful information from spreading.


依法 治理 网络 空间 (yīfǎ zhìlǐ wǎngluò kōngjiān) Governance of cyberspace according to the law; (Lit. According to the law govern cyberspace). This concept sounds neutral, but actually it is a more limited concept than found in the West. In the Chinese view, the “law” will be determined by governments and multilateral institutions without significant input from multi-stakeholder groups. So what this phrase means is something like “government monopoly on Internet governance”.


政治 安全 (zhèngzhì ānquán) Political security. This term is unique to China. It has no equivalent in the West. In general, it refers to political stability or the credibility of the political system. Within the context of cyberspace doctrine, “political security” is a risk factor. That is, there is a fear that content transmitted on the Internet will generate or magnify dissent against the political system. In the Chinese context, it is government policy to censor or otherwise prevent such information from being transmitted through the Internet.

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