Jan. 14, 2015 |
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21st Century China Opinion
Turning the Sony hacking crisis into an opportunity
From the source

"North Korean defector, Kim Heung-kwang, a

former Pyongyang computer science professor ... claims North Korean hackers operated secretly in Shenyang [the largest city in Northeast China] for years, moving from location to location to conceal their whereabouts and activities .... Today, nearly all of North Korea's internet traffic is still routed through China.
Source: CNN
Our take

American officials have accused North Korea of the cyber attack on Sony Pictures last December. China's foreign ministry responded by declaring that while China opposed all forms of cyber attacks, there was no proof that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hacking.


The Obama administration has pledged to respond to this latest provocation proportionally, but its options are limited. The reality is that Pyongyang is already so isolated from the world that U.S. responses such as additional financial sanctions and cyber retaliation are unlikely to carry enough costs to induce policy change in Pyongyang. Such half-hearted and reactive American responses to North Korean provocations against a backdrop of diplomatic isolation have failed to alter Pyongyang's course. U.S. policy under the Obama administration has essentially been waiting for regime change to happen in the DPRK while watching the U.S. strategic position deteriorate as Pyongyang strengthens its nuclear deterrence.


U.S.-China cooperation is thus crucial to any long-term solution for the North Korean problem and to deter future attacks. China is North Korea's main ally and major aid provider. Additionally, much of North Korea's hacking is done from China. Signs point to China's growing frustration with North Korean intransigence, but China is unable to abandon its ally due to weariness of instability on its borders.


The Sony hack illustrates how cyber attacks have outstripped established strategy and doctrine by blurring the lines between peace and war as well as notions of territorial sovereignty. But it is also an opportunity for the U.S. to engage with China to elaborate urgently needed rules of conduct for cyberspace. As it becomes more networked, China has the incentive to cooperate, because such rules of conduct will be useful in the likely scenario that separatist or dissident groups use the U.S. as a staging area for cyber attacks against Chinese corporations or government networks in the future. Opportunities such as Sony that allow the U.S. and China to start the process of crafting a code of conduct for cyberspace without having to address sensitive bilateral topics should not be allowed to go to waste.


Field Notes from China:
Selections from
Chinese-language Media

Tsinghua applicants asked opinions on Occupy
Hong Kong during interviews

SummaryThe long-term repercussions of the city-wide protests in Hong Kong last year have yet to be fully grasped, but at least one outcome is that students recommended (保送生) to apply to Tsinghua University - China's most elite academic institution - are now being asked their opinions of the Occupy Hong Kong movement during the interview process.


Excerpt from the story"During the afternoon, students entered the testing area, and one-by-one held interviews with three school officials, using English and Chinese to respond to questions. Aside from a conventional personal introduction, many students were asked 'What is your opinion of the Occupy Hong Kong movement?' One male student told us 'Thankfully, I've been following some of the news lately.' He added, 'Tsinghua wants students who can express their opinions.'"


Source: 腾讯网

Xi Jinping in office: looking back, looking forward


SummaryXiao Gongqin, a professor of history at Shanghai Normal University, has been championing the idea of neo-authoritarianism since the 1980s. Under the guidance of a strong CCP, China can inhabit what Xiao calls the "rational middle ground," staying away from the extremes of either too much equality (left) or too much liberty (right). In a big, new piece appearing this past week, Xiao evaluates Xi Jinping's tenure in office, offering some words of support for Xi's drive to centralize power and reaffirm the CCP's legitimacy in society.


Excerpt from the story"Xi has obtained an authority that is increasingly comparable to that of Deng Xiaoping. Some intellectuals advocating U.S.-style constitutionalism consider it negative, but only a leadership with ample authority can unite enough social forces to form a consensus to support constitutional and democratic reform. Similar approaches could be reflected from Japan's reform after the Meiji Revolution and China's own dramatic changes in the 1980s. A contrary example is Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), which launched constitutional reform in its last 10 years, but failed because the dynasty, in a deep legitimacy crisis, could no longer rally national support for its moves. The failure brought the dynasty to collapse. As a vast country, China easily faces lack of authority in any attempt to make changes, which was typical in the decades following 1911. Now Xi's team is establishing the necessary authority to propel reform and the opportunity should be cherished."


Source: 共识网

China Talk: Interviews, Lectures and Events
Xi Jinping's political, economic & military roadmap
Scholars from the 21st Century China Program joined the Hammer Museum to examine China's domestic challenges for a recent Hammer Forum. 21st Century China Program Chair Susan Shirk, Tai Ming Cheung and Barry Naughton were joined by forum moderator Ian Masters. Click on the image to launch the video.


School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
21st Century China Program
Questions? 21china@ucsd.edu
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