Xi Vows to Make China Into Cyber Power After Internet Meeting

President Xi Jinping pledged to turn China into a cyber power after presiding over a meeting of a new high-level group set up to coordinate and develop policy on Internet security.

To have a strong Internet a country needs its own technology, Xi said after the meeting yesterday of the Communist Party’s Internet security and informatization leading group, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency posted on the central government’s website.

“No Internet safety means no national security,” Xi said, according to Xinhua.

The announcement of the party group marks a further step in Xi’s consolidation of power after he became head of a newly-created security commission in January. Xi will mark his first year as president next month when the National People’s Congress holds its annual two-week meeting that runs from March 5.

A sign that Xi has made Internet security a priority, news of the group comes after officials criticized reports of widespread global spying by the U.S. National Security Agency. The NSA program infringed on the public’s trust and confidence in the Internet, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Oct. 28.

China maintains that it’s a victim of hacking and officials have demanded an explanation for disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the U.S. accessed computers in Hong Kong and China.

The group will draft national strategies, development plans and major policies for Internet security, Xinhua said.

While China has the world’s largest number of Internet users it still lags behind in the development of technology, Xi said. He called for a “comprehensive plan,” to develop domestic cyber security technology, according to Xinhua.

The Internet technology revolution has had a profound impact on international politics, the economy, culture and military, he said.

Premier Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan, both members of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, are deputy heads of the leading group. Leading groups bring together ministers and party leaders.

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson

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