As China rolls out its 2016 cyber security law, its drive to develop national cyberspace sovereignty continues. China’s law outlines a rules-based view of privacy and emphasizes critical infrastructure and domestic collection of citizen data. With the second largest economy in the world and the largest number of internet users, China has a tough task attempting to establish a national framework for cyber security while fostering an innovative technology sector. China is now a rule maker in cyberspace and home to a number of very large and highly capable technology companies. However, China’s lofty goals in cyberspace and innovation are undercut by its behavior in other countries.
An interesting foreign policy aspect of the situation in Xinjiang is the region’s place within the wider global war on terrorism. When compared to the conflict in Chechnya, one can find a number of interesting similarities in the central governments’ narrative of the issue. However, in order to find them, it is first worth engaging in a short discussion of both conflicts.
According to Remi Castets, starting in the 1980’s, the region saw an increase in religiosity amongst its mostly Islamic population. This in turn led to the formation of student groups and to the beginning of protests. Following the student activism of the eighties, the nineties saw an increase in radicalism within the population, which led to both arson and sabotage. These actions then culminated in bombings and assassinations.