Chinese president Xi Jinping once vowed to make China a big power in cyberspace. Although people might have different opinions on the definition of “big-power in cyberspace,” China still seems to be marching toward its goal in its own way.
On August 15, China’s top internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, and China’s education ministry announced that China is planning to “build four to six world-famous cyber-security schools in ten years (from 2017 to 2027)” in a joint notification.
The notification claimed that any universities could volunteer to apply for the two departments’ permission to set up the schools and qualified universities would get government support on finance and other resources.
The notification also made clear the governmental goals in detail, and the following items are noteworthy:
- To establish interdisciplinary programs that involve engineering, law, management and other categories to train cyber-security personnel.
- To set up first-class laboratories with enterprises and scientific research units and to undertake research tasks issued by the state.
- To organize specialized teachers to work in related enterprises, scientific research units and government departments, so as to strengthen cooperation between school and enterprise
- To recruit experienced personnel –including cyber-security managing experts and special talents–as part-time teachers
- To evaluate cyber-security talents with practical skills rather than academic qualifications such as papers or degrees
- To undertake research projects issued by the Cyberspace Administration or the education ministry
It is obvious that China aims to build a cyber army, and that the practicality in the realm of cyber talent is the top priority for the project.
The notification also did declare that the plan is an execution of President Xi’s instruction: “[We should] take great effort , invest big money, invite best teachers, compile excellent teaching materials, recruit good students and build first-class cyber-security schools.”
President Xi did repeatedly say that China should “confidently uphold our sovereignty in cyberspace,” “clearly declare our claim,” and “increase our voice and rule-making power in cyberspace.”
Meanwhile, Xi also demanded the regulators to intensify the internet control. As The Diplomat has been following, China has been cracking down local netizens’ internet access fiercely. Some Chinese netizens commented on the news reports about China’s goal. One said: “In terms of cyberspace, China is already world-famous–or world-infamous to be more specific– for its Great Firewall.”