Translation: Xi Jinping’s April 20 Speech at the National Cybersecurity and Informatization Work Conference

Blog Post
360b /
April 30, 2018

In the wake of the recent upgrade of China’s cyberspace authorities from a central leading group to commission status, a National Cybersecurity and Informatization Work Conference took place in Beijing on April 20–21. Xi Jinping gave a speech outlining adjusted priorities for digital development, cybersecurity, and cyberspace governance after the 19th Party Congress. The full text of the speech has not been made public, and state media’s English-language summaries provide scant detail. The official Xinhua News Agency in Chinese provided the most complete available summary of the speech and the conference, and it is translated below. Read DigiChina's analysis of this speech here.


[Chinese-language original]

Xi Jinping Stresses at the National Cybersecurity and Informatization Work Conference:

Acutely Grasp the Historical Opportunity of Informatization Development;

Move Forward the Construction of a Cyber Superpower Through Indigenous Innovation

Li Keqiang Chairs; Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, and Han Zheng Attend

Xinhua, 21 April, Beijing (Journalists Zhang Xiaosong, Zhu Jichai). The National Cybersecurity and Informatization Work Conference was convened on the 20th and 21st in Beijing. CCP Central Committee General Secretary, State President, Chair of the Central Military Commission, and Chair of the Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatization [中央网络安全和信息化委员会, also known as the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission] Xi Jinping attended the conference and gave an important speech. He stressed that informatization has brought extremely rare opportunities to the Chinese nation. China must acutely grasp the historical opportunity of informatization development, strengthen online positive propaganda, safeguard cybersecurity, promote breakthroughs in core technologies in the information area, give rein to the guiding role of informatization in economic development, strengthen civil-military integration in the cybersecurity and informatization domain, actively participate in international cyberspace governance processes, move forward the construction of China as a cyber superpower [网络强国建设] through indigenous innovation, and make new contributions to lock in victory in comprehensively constructing a moderately prosperous society, seize new grand victories for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and realize the Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation.

CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member, State Premier, and Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatization Vice Chair Li Keqiang chaired the conference. CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chair Li Zhanshu, CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chair Wang Yang, CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and Central Discipline Inspection Committee Secretary Zhao Leji, CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member and State Council Vice Premier Han Zheng attended the conference. CCP Politburo Standing Committee Member, Central Committee Secretariat Secretary and Vice Chair of the Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatization Wang Huning made a summarizing speech.

In his speech, Xi Jinping stressed that since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Center has paid high regard to the Internet, developed the Internet, and governed the Internet. It has comprehensively coordinated major informatization and cybersecurity policy questions affecting politics, economics, culture, society, military matters, and other such fields. It has produced a series of major policies, published a series of major measures, and promoted historical successes to be achieved in the cybersecurity and informatization undertaking. These successes fully demonstrate that the Party Center’s policy decisions since the 18th Party Congress, concerning strengthening uniform leadership of the Party Center over cybersecurity and informatization work and a series of strategic arrangements made in cybersecurity and informatization work, were completely correct. We must unceasingly move forward theoretical innovation and practical innovation, not only marching along a cyber governance path with Chinese characteristics, but also putting forward a series of new ideas, new viewpoints, and new theses, and creating the strategic concept of [building China into] a cyber superpower.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China must raise comprehensive cyber governance capabilities and create a comprehensive cyber governance structure that integrates economic, legal, and technological approaches, with participation from Party Committees who will take the lead, the government that will manage, enterprises that will carry out responsibilities, society that will supervise, and netizens who will self-discipline. We must strengthen online positive propaganda, unequivocally adhere to the correct political direction, and the guidance of public opinion; and, oriented by values, we must use the Thought of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the spirit of the 19th Party Congress to unite and bring together millions of netizens; deeply develop education on ideals and beliefs; deepen propaganda and education on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the Chinese Dream; vigorously foster and practice the Socialist Core Value View; advance innovation in online propaganda ideas, concepts, forms, methods, measures, etc.; grasp these with timeliness and efficiency; build concentric circles online and offline; generate better social cohesion and consensus; and lay down a common intellectual basis for the united struggle of the entire Party and the whole nation. We must consolidate the main responsibilities of Internet enterprises. We can absolutely not let the Internet become a platform for the dissemination of harmful information, or a place where rumours spread that create trouble. We must strengthen self-discipline in the Internet sector, muster the vigor of all netizens, and mobilize forces on all sides to participate in governance.

Xi Jinping stressed that without cybersecurity, there is no national security, the economy and society will not operate in a stable manner, and the broad popular masses’ interests will be difficult to guarantee. We must establish a correct cybersecurity view; strengthen cybersecurity protection of information infrastructure; strengthen the construction of comprehensive cybersecurity and information coordination mechanisms, methods, and platforms; strengthen the construction of cybersecurity incident response command capabilities; vigorously develop cybersecurity industries; move out in front; and prevent all possible trouble. We must implement critical information infrastructure protection responsibilities. As critical information infrastructure operators, sectors, and enterprises bear the primary responsibility for protection, competent authorities are to properly implement their supervisory and management responsibilities. We must, according to the law, severely attack online hacking, telecommunications and network fraud, infringement of citizens’ personal privacy, and other such unlawful and criminal conduct; sever the cybercrime value chain, continue to create a high-pressure situation, and safeguard the lawful rights and interests of the popular masses. We must deeply launch cybersecurity and knowledge technology propaganda and dissemination, and raise the broad popular masses’ cybersecurity consciousness and protection capabilities.

Xi Jinping pointed out that core technologies are important instruments of the state. We must be determined, persevere, seek the right center of gravity, and accelerate the promotion of breakthroughs in core technologies in the information sector. We must grasp the construction of industrial systems and jointly put forth efforts in technology, industry, and policy. We must abide by the development laws of technology, systematize the technology structure, select the best of the best, and focus on breakthroughs. We must strengthen concentrated and unified leadership; perfect financial, fiscal, international trade, talent, intellectual property rights protection, and other elements of the environment; optimize the market environment, and do an ever better job in unleashing the new vitality of all kinds of innovative agents. We must foster a fair market environment, strengthen intellectual property rights protection, and oppose monopolistic and improper competition. We must open up green channels for the convergence of basic research and technological innovation, and strive to drive breakthroughs in the applied technology community through basic research.

Xi Jinping stressed that the cybersecurity and informatization undertaking represents new productive forces and new development directions. We should step ahead first in practicing new development ideas, focusing on building a modern economic system, and realizing high-quality development; and strengthening informatization development and comprehensively driving and enhancing new kinds of development in industrialization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization. We must develop the digital economy, accelerate the promotion of digital industrialization, rely on information technology to drive innovation, unceasingly give birth to new industries, new business forms and new models, and use new drivers to promote new developments. We must promote industrial digitization; use new Internet technologies and new applications to carry out a transformation of traditional industries from all directions, all angles, and all linkages; raise the productivity of all factors; and unleash the role of the digital economy in expanding, accumulating, and fostering economic development. We must promote the profound convergence of the Internet, big data, artificial intelligence, and the real economy; and accelerate the digitization, networking, and smartification of manufacturing, agriculture, and the services sector. We must unwaveringly support cybersecurity and informatization enterprises to grow large and strong, strengthen normative guidance, and stimulate their healthy and orderly development. Enterprises must insist on the unity of economic effects and social effects in their development, and ever better shoulder their social and moral responsibilities. We must utilize information means and methods to: move forward government affairs openness and Party affairs openness; accelerate e-government services; build online service platforms integrated along a complete value chain; and ever better resolve problems that enterprises and the masses take issue with associated with the fact that handling affairs is difficult, settling matters is difficult, and settling matters is complicated. Developments in cybersecurity and informatization must implement the development idea of placing the people at the center and make improving the people’s welfare into a starting point and checkpoint, to let the popular masses have a greater sense of gain, a sense of happiness, and a sense of security in the development of informatization.

Xi Jinping pointed out that military-civil integration in cybersecurity and informatization is a focus area and an area for advance. It is also the area in military-civil integration with the most dynamism and potential. We must grasp the historical opportunity of the current information technology transformation and new transformation of military affairs; deeply understand the immanent relationships of productivity and fighting capability, the market and the battlefield; grasp working mechanisms and [scientific] laws of military-civil integration; and promote the creation of a full-factor, multi-domain, and highly efficient development structure for military-civil integration.

Xi Jinping stressed that moving forward reform of the global Internet governance system is the general trend and a common aspiration. International cyberspace governance should persist in multilateral participation and multi-stakeholder participation, giving rein to the roles of all types of actors, including governments, international organizations, Internet enterprises, the technical community, civil organizations, and individual citizens. We must both promote cyberspace governance within the United Nations framework, and do a better job of giving rein to the positive role of all kinds of non-state actors. We must, taking the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as an opportunity, strengthen cooperation with countries along the BRI, especially developing countries, in areas such as basic network infrastructure construction, the digital economy, cybersecurity, etc., and build a Digital Silk Road for the 21st Century.

Xi Jinping pointed out that we must strengthen the Party Center’s concentrated and unified leadership over cybersecurity and informatization work and guarantee that the cybersecurity and informatization undertaking advances in the correct direction from beginning to end. All localities and all departments must attach great importance to cybersecurity and informatization work, include it in key work plans and important agendas, and resolve new issues and new questions in a timely manner. We must fully give rein to the advantages of the community organizations for workers, youth, and women; give rein to the role of enterprises, scientific research institutes, and think tanks; and assemble all of society to make concerted efforts in the promotion of cybersecurity and informatization work. Leading cadres at all levels, especially high-level cadres, must actively adapt to the demands of informatization and strengthen their Internet thinking, unceasingly raise their capability to grasp the laws of Internet development, their ability to guide online public opinion, their capacity to drive informatization development, and their capacity to ensure cybersecurity. Party and government bodies and leading cadres at all levels must raise their skills in organizing communities through the Internet, doing propaganda work among the masses, guiding the masses, and serving the masses. We must promote the lawful management, operation, and utilization of the Internet, and ensure the healthy operation of the Internet along a legal path. We must research and formulate comprehensive plans for talent development in the cybersecurity and informatization sectors, promote the reform of talent development systems and mechanisms, allow talent’s creative dynamism to compete and forge ahead, and allow wisdom and talent to fully gush forth. We must unceasingly strengthen the “Four Consciousnesses,” persist in putting the Party’s political construction first, strengthen efforts to expand the ranks, comprehensively and strictly manage the ranks, properly select and allocate leading cadres for cybersecurity and informatization at all levels, and provide powerful organizational and personnel guarantees for the development of the cybersecurity and informatization undertaking.

Li Keqiang, while chairing the conference, pointed out that General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech started from the overall picture of the Party and State’s undertaking, comprehensively summarized the historical achievements that have been obtained in China’s cybersecurity and informatization work, and the historic changes that have occurred since the 18th Party Congress. The speech also systematically elucidated the rich content of thinking on the strategy of building China into a cyber superpower; scientifically answered a series of major theoretical and practical questions affecting the long-term development of the cybersecurity and informatization undertaking; clarified the direction ahead; provided a fundamental path to follow for grasping the historic opportunity of the information revolution, strengthening cybersecurity and informatization work, and accelerating the construction of a cyber superpower; and has a major and profound significance. Everyone must earnestly study and comprehend the speech and deeply reflect on it, link it up with reality, thoroughly understand it, and realistically unite their thoughts and actions around the spirit of the important speech of General Secretary Xi Jinping. It is necessary to further enhance our political stance, realistically strengthen a sense of responsibility and a sense of mission from the heights of the Party’s long-term governance and the country’s long-term order and security, and push cybersecurity and informatization work to a new height.

Wang Huning pointed out in his summarizing speech that the important speech of General Secretary Xi Jinping stood on the heights of human historical development and the overall picture of the Party and the country, and scientifically analysed changing trends in informatization and the historical mission we are shouldering. The speech systematically elucidated the thinking behind the strategy of building China into a cyber superpower, profoundly answered a series of major theoretical and practical questions concerning cybersecurity and informatization development, and is a programmatic document to guide cybersecurity and informatization development in a new era. We must certainly earnestly study and comprehend it, unite thoughts and actions around the Party Center’s strategic arrangements concerning cybersecurity and informatization work, and grasp the satisfactory implementation of all work items with a spirit of making the most of every available minute.

Responsible comrades from the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, Beijing Municipality, Shanghai Municipality, Hubei Province, Guangdong Province, and Guizhou Province all made speeches

Politburo members, the Secretary of the Central Committee Secretariat, State Council members, the President of the Supreme People’s Court, and the President of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate attended the conference.

The members of the Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatization, and responsible comrades from all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, plan-listed cities, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, relevant departments in Central Committee and state bodies, relevant people’s organizations, relevant major State-owned enterprises, relevant military work units, major Central news work units, focus Central news websites, etc., participated in the conference.

This translation is based on an initial version by Rogier Creemers and is revised by Creemers, Paul Triolo, and Graham Webster.