NDRI Briefs Pentagon on China's Information Security Strategy

China faces a very modern paradox: how to balance its country's information-related needs with its government's authoritarian policies. RAND's National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) recently presented a briefing to the Pentagon about the centralized national information strategy China's government has devised in response to these contradictory forces.

The rapid pace of China's economic development and the need to replace its poor communications infrastructure have made China one of the world's largest consumers of information-related technologies. China adds a telephone network equal to that of the entire French national network every two years. 

China is still an authoritarian, single-party state, however, whose continued rule depends upon the suppression of anti-regime activity. As the government learned in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, the installation of an advanced telecommunications infrastructure greatly complicates this task. 

Faced with these contradictory forces, China has sought to strike a difficult balance between the information-related needs of economic modernization and internal stability.  To aid them in this effort, the government has taken advantage of the slow pace of China's relatively late modernization and has devised a centralized national information security strategy, backed by organizational, technological, and legal measures. 

On May 18, 2000, RAND researcher Dr. James Mulvenon outlined the key government security strategies, organizations and regulations to the Pentagon in his briefing "China and Information Security: Strategy and Organizations".  He examined in detail the increasingly complex issue of information security in China.