China rejects UK spy chief’s charge of calling it threat to cyber freedom

K J M Varma
·3-min read

Beijing, Apr 23 (PTI) China, which has built the world's largest internet test facility to push for the development of next-generation innovations in cyber technology, has dismissed as 'groundless' the UK spy chief’s remarks that freedom and security of the internet was at risk from Beijing and Moscow.

The Director-General of British spy service GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), Jeremy Fleming said the UK and its allies risk losing control of the internet and the security of future technologies to China and Russia, who have a different and competing vision of the future.

Unless decisive action is taken, “it is increasingly clear that the key technologies on which we will rely for our future prosperity and security won’t be shaped and controlled by the West.

We are now facing a moment of reckoning,” Jeremy Fleming was quoted as saying by the British media on Friday.

Reacting to Fleming’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing that allegations are groundless and unreasonable.

“I want to stress that cyberspace is a highly virtual space with many actors and with their activities difficult to trace,” he said.

“When investigating the incidents there must be enough evidence not groundless allegations,” he added.

Zhao said that as a matter of fact the US, the UK and other western countries are the true empires of hacking and tapping.

“China is firmly opposed to any institution using cyber security issues to smear China in service of their political agenda,” he said.

Fleming’s warning came as China announced on Tuesday last that it has opened the world's largest internet test facility backbone network, a move that analysts said will push the development of next-generation innovations mapped out in China's blueprint for the next five years.

The new technologies will ensure the country's internet stability and security, while ending reliance on the US, state-run Global Times reported.

A ceremony was held at Beijing's Tsinghua University to open the high-performance backbone of the Future Internet Test Infrastructure (FITI), which is also China's first major science and technology infrastructure project in the information field at the national level, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Powered by FITI, the number of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) addresses owned by China has jumped to the No 1 ranking in the world in early April, the report said.

IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on network and route traffic.

It allows much higher theoretical limits on the number of IP addresses than the IPv4 system.

The FITI backbone core nodes are located in 31 Chinese provincial-level regions with 200G of bandwidth between the core nodes.

At the same time, it supports 4,096 large-scale trial networks, achieving interconnection with domestic and international IPv4/IPv6 trial facilities, the report said.

FITI is significant for the development of next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and autonomous driving, Liu Gang, chief economist with the Chinese Institute of New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Strategies, told the Global Times.

'Featuring faster transmission speed and lower latency, the FITI can better accommodate real-time data transmission required by AI,' Liu said.

The number of internet connections China had reached 904 million as of March 2020, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre (CINIC).

As internet connections grew in large numbers facilitating the growth of online social media in the country, China supervises and controls the content through massive firewalls.

While global social media like Twitter, Facebook and Google stands blocked in the country, Beijing also exercises greater supervision over internet media platforms like Weibo, akin to Twitter in China to control the content. PTI KJV RUP RUP RUP