Both are needed to achieve effective governance of the internet, says official
Adhering to the principle of sovereignty does not go against the free flow of information, a Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday.
The pursuit of such a free flow and ensuring China's public security and interests should both be addressed to achieve effective governance of cyberspace, said Long Zhou, the Foreign Ministry's coordinator for cyber affairs, during a media briefing.
Long elaborated during the briefing on the International Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace, which was issued on Wednesday and is China's first international strategy on cyber issues.
Sovereignty is among the key principles put forward in the strategy.
"Countries should respect one another's right to choose their own path of cyber development, model of cyber regulation and internet public policies, and participate in international cyberspace governance on an equal footing," the strategy says.
It also says China fully respects citizens' rights and fundamental freedoms in cyberspace, while emphasizing that cyberspace "is not a place beyond the rule of law".
Long reiterated that the principle of sovereignty applies to cyberspace, and said it helps governments play "irreplaceable roles", such as protecting key infrastructure and fighting cybercrime.
Wang Jianchao, deputy director-general of the Bureau of International Cooperation of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said: "Just like the real world, cyberspace needs not only the advocacy of freedom, but also the assurance of order."
Countries' pattern of internet development should be based on their own circumstances, Wang said.
China hopes to work with all countries in the spirit of "win-win cooperation" - which the strategy set as its "core message" - to achieve lasting peace and shared prosperity of cyberspace, Long said.
He said international cooperation is "the only choice" for countries to deal with challenges and threats on the internet, including cyberterrorism and cybercrime.