Thursday

26th Nov 2020

Stakeholder

Digital 'Iron Curtain' makes no sense in 5G era

  • China and the EU have a wide range of shared interests in defending cyber security, writes Zhang Ming - ambassador and head of the Chinese Mission to the EU (Photo: Chinese Mission to the EU)

Recently, 5G technology and its security have been on everyone's lips in Europe.

Quite often, a Chinese company was mentioned. As Chinese ambassador to the EU, I do not intend to speak for a company. I prefer to share my views from a broader perspective.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

5G technology is a product of global innovation and cooperation. Its industrial, supply and value chains are so widely spread and interlinked that almost everyone has a stake in it.

Drawing an 'Iron Curtain' would therefore have an impact on all, Chinese, Europeans, Americans, and others alike.

Such an attempt would upset global economic and scientific cooperation, undermine the principles of free trade and fair competition, disrupt market order, and eventually, hurt the interests of every consumer.

It is perfectly understandable to see unease about the potential vulnerability of 5G, as it is indeed opening a brand new horizon in our daily life.

No country can afford to be naive on this. For each and every 5G company, meeting high security standards holds the key to customer trust and sustainable development.

I could not think of any company which would like to ruin itself by being slack on security issues. Whether there are security risks or not requires a well-informed and facts-based technical judgment, not politically motivated bashing or fear-mongering, still less pressuring and coercion.

It is a sad truth that our world is imbued with security challenges. Cyber insecurity is one of them and has been with us ever since the invention of the Internet.

To keep our cyberspace safe and secure, more action is needed from both public and private sectors, and global cooperation and coordination is the only right way to go. It is even more so in a 5G era.

Discrediting, pressurising or putting restrictions on a selective few would simply not work. Such discriminatory moves serve no one's good.

Defending cyber security

China and the EU have a wide range of shared interests in defending cyber security.

The EU has over the years taken substantial steps to protect cyber security and data privacy, while China has always been committed to fighting all forms of cyber crimes.

To enhance communication on cyber security, we need to put into good use the existing dialogue mechanisms, be it multilateral ones within the United Nations or bilateral ones between China and the EU.

Some European friends have a misperception of China's National Intelligence Law.

Like any other legislation, the National Intelligence Law should be viewed as an indivisible whole. It provides that China's intelligence work must be law-based, give full respect to human rights and uphold the legitimate rights and interests of individuals and organisations, while it stipulates that individuals and organisations shall support and assist with national intelligence work.

Therefore, it is advisable to look at the law in a holistic way rather than in a one-sided and out-of-context way.

The Chinese government calls on Chinese companies operating overseas to strictly observe laws and regulations of the host country, has and will never ask Chinese companies to engage in illegal activities.

In the past 40 years and more, China-EU cooperation has come a long way.

Chinese companies value the EU market, because of its openness and huge opportunities, and more importantly, because of the EU's firm commitment to multilateralism and the rules-based global order. It is our hope and belief that the EU will continue to act in the spirit of fairness and non-discrimination.

China stands ready to work together with the EU toward a 5G era for the prosperity of all.

Author bio

The author is ambassador and head of the Chinese Mission to the EU.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

European insight from the Huawei Global Connectivity Index

The economy of all countries is transforming into a digital economy whether they like it or not. Huawei's Global Connectivity Index provides an indicator of which EU countries are best poised for development and growth.

G5 to launch common data bank on terrorism activity

In the aftermath of the 11 March commemorations, the interior ministers of the five most populous EU states have decided to launch a joint terrorist alert system, based in Granada, Spain.

An open China brings opportunities to Europe

Some 60 years ago, the first major World Fair after World War II was held in Brussels. Sixty years on, China International Import Expo (CIIE), the first world expo dedicated to expanding imports, will open in Shanghai, China.

Finland spearheads EU plan for digital revolution

The EU should strive to be a world leader in digital services, Finland and 16 other member states have said, following French and German proposals on industrial "champions".

News in Brief

  1. Dutch far-right leader resigns over antisemitism
  2. Germany to relax corona rules for Christmas
  3. New US leader against hard border in Ireland
  4. EU ties Afghanistan aid money to democracy
  5. EU drug regulator optimistic on vaccine prospects
  6. EU study warns of impact of non-CO2 aircraft emissions
  7. Cross-country MPs urge EU to protect Poles' rights
  8. MEPs adopt group-action consumer rights redress

Synergy need to tackle climate change in Mediterranean

The Interreg Med, a cross-border initiative of 13 countries around the Mediterranean Sea, has made the fight against climate change the cornerstone of its strategy for the next years - since the region is facing irreversible environmental damage.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. Watchdog slams Commission on BlackRock 'green rules' deal
  2. EU reaches out to nationals of migrant origin
  3. German minister predicts rule-of-law solution in 'days'
  4. EU red-flags Israel's Givat Hamatos settlement
  5. US economic nationalism will be subtler - but it will persist
  6. Georgia's 'rigged' elections? Takeaways for the EU
  7. There is 'no Russia-Turkey alliance'
  8. EU air quality improves, but pollution levels still high

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us