Promoting the Construction of Digital China

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), General Secretary Xi Jinping has emphasized the development of the digital economy and proposed initiatives such as “promoting the implementation of the national big data strategy, accelerating the improvement of digital infrastructure, advancing data integration and open sharing, ensuring data security, and accelerating the construction of a digital China.” The 20th National Congress of the CPC report further emphasized “accelerating the construction of a manufacturing power, a quality power, an aerospace power, a transportation power, an internet power, and a digital China,” and proposed initiatives like “accelerating the development of the digital economy,” “developing digital trade,” “promoting digital education,” and “implementing the national digital culture strategy.”

The “14th Five-Year Plan” and the 2035 Vision outline have made important deployments for “building a digital China.” The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have issued the “Overall Plan for the Construction of Digital China,” providing top-level design and strategic guidance for accelerating the construction of a digital China. In general, the construction of a digital China is an important engine for promoting China’s modernization in the digital era. We need planning, coordination, collaborative innovation in order to create a favorable environment to accelerate the construction of a digital China.

Strengthening Coordination

The construction of a digital China is a systematic project that involves various aspects of work. Given the complex and profound changes in the current external environment and internal conditions, there is a sense of urgency to seize the historical opportunities brought about by digital transformation. To accelerate the construction of a digital China, it is crucial to establish a sound coordination mechanism.

Firstly, it is essential to adhere to and strengthen the comprehensive leadership of the Party. Under the Party’s overall leadership, practical implementation of top-level designs and strategic deployments such as the “Overall Layout Plan for the Construction of Digital China” should be combined. This will expedite the improvement of the integrity, systematicity, and synergistic development of digital China, coordinating the advancement of digital government, digital economy, digital society, digital culture, and digital ecological construction.

Secondly, a sound data management system and mechanism need to be established. The digital economy is vital to the country’s overall development, and data is a crucial production factor that drives the construction of a digital China and accelerates the development of the digital economy. It is necessary to align with the country’s development needs and possibilities and carry out institutional and systematic construction. This includes setting up a National Data Bureau responsible for coordinating and promoting the construction of the data infrastructure and integrating and utilizing data resources. It is also crucial to improve data coordination and management institutions at all levels, establish market-oriented mechanisms for data element allocation, and promote the healthy development of the digital economy.

Thirdly, there is a need to strengthen overall coordination and guidance. This involves establishing and improving systems such as target responsibility, assessment and evaluation, rewards and punishments, and enhancing supervision, inspection, and feedback. By doing so, problems and difficulties encountered during the process of promoting the construction of a digital China can be timely identified, researched, and solved, ultimately promoting the high-quality advancement of digital China.

Promoting Collaborative Innovation

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China emphasized, “Promote the deep integration of the digital economy and the real economy, and build competitive digital industrial clusters with international competitiveness” and “Strengthen the deep integration of industry, academia, and research led by enterprises, enhance goal-oriented efforts, and improve the level of technology achievement transformation and industrialization.” Technological innovation requires collaborative development rather than individual efforts. To accelerate the construction of a digital China, it is necessary to further establish and improve the mechanism for collaborative innovation.

Firstly, we need to promote diverse stakeholders’ collaborative innovation. This involves promoting cooperation and exchanges among various entities such as the government, enterprises, research institutions, and social organizations. Together, they explore and implement practical solutions, constructing a technology innovation system led by enterprises, oriented towards the market, and deeply integrated with industry, academia, and research.

Secondly, it is essential to strengthen research and development of key core technologies. Developing key core technologies requires coordination of various resources, collaboration among multiple channels, and innovation from different teams, necessitating effective organization and guidance. Increased investment and support for basic research and applied research are needed to enhance original innovation capability and achieve efficient technology transformation. By leveraging digital technology and network platforms, collaboration among different innovation subjects and the sharing of innovation resources across different fields will create an open and networked innovation pattern.

Thirdly, we must cultivate and strengthen the core industries of the digital economy. Through collaborative innovation, efficient circulation and reasonable utilization of data will be promoted, activating the potential of data elements. This will strengthen the application of key digital technologies and enhance the competitiveness of core industries in the digital economy.

Creating a Sound Ecosystem

The “14th Five-Year Plan” and the 2035 Vision Outline propose adhering to a balance between regulation and development, promoting the unity of development and standardized management, establishing a digital rule system, and creating an open, healthy, and secure digital ecosystem. The “Overall Layout Plan for the Construction of Digital China” is deployed around the concept of “building a fair and standardized digital governance ecosystem.” Strengthening the construction of a digital ecosystem is an essential aspect of promoting digital development and requires high attention and multiple measures.

Firstly, it is crucial to establish a sound legal and policy system. We need to establish a legal and regulatory system that adapts to digital development, timely formulate and revise relevant laws and regulations in the digital field, and improve data property rights, data security protection, and data cross-border flow systems.

Secondly, there is a need to strengthen the coordination of relevant laws and regulations. Accelerate the formulation and revision of application standards for various industries’ digital transformation and the development of industry cross-integration to maintain a well-ordered market for data elements.

Thirdly, it is important to build a comprehensive network governance system. Enhance the comprehensive governance capability from all directions and dimensions, establish a scientific, efficient, and orderly management and control network pattern, purify the cyberspace, and promote the construction of a civilized internet.

Safeguarding Cybersecurity

Without cybersecurity, there is no stable operation of the economy and society. The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) proposed strengthening the construction of security systems for the economy, major infrastructure, finance, digital network, data, biology, resources, nuclear power, space, and the ocean. Security is the prerequisite and will need to be developed. To accelerate the construction of a digital China, it is essential to effectively safeguard cybersecurity.

Firstly, we must enhance independent and controllable capabilities. The core technology of the Internet is our most critical “lifeline,” and the vulnerability of being subject to others in core technology poses the most significant risk. Strengthening digital technology innovation and achieving independent control of critical technologies are the foundation for building a robust security barrier for digital China.

Secondly, we need to strengthen the construction of laws and regulations. Establishing and improving a legal and regulatory framework for cybersecurity, enhancing measures such as data classification and protection, data security review, data cross-border management, and improving capabilities for network data monitoring, early warning, and emergency response are crucial to maintaining order in cyberspace.

Thirdly, we should establish a sound mechanism for sharing cybersecurity information. By strengthening cybersecurity education and training, raising public and business awareness and skills regarding internet security, and continuously improving capabilities and standards for cybersecurity protection, we can effectively enhance cybersecurity defenses.

Achieving a Win-Win Cooperation

General Secretary Xi Jinping proposed, “China is willing to work with all countries in the world to jointly develop a path of global digital development that involves the construction and sharing of digital resources, a vibrant digital economy, precise and efficient digital governance, prosperous digital culture, robust digital security, and mutually beneficial cooperation in the digital realm. We will accelerate the building of a community with a shared future in cyberspace and contribute wisdom and strength to world peace, development, and progress of human civilization.” To accelerate the construction of a digital China and build a community with a shared future in cyberspace, it is essential to actively establish an open and win-win pattern of international cooperation in the digital domain.

Firstly, we should promote global digital governance and cybersecurity cooperation. Actively participate in digital domain cooperation platforms under multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), BRICS, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and actively engage in shaping international rules related to data cross-border flow and other digital aspects.

Secondly, we need to build high-quality open and cooperative platforms in the digital domain. Actively promote the high-quality construction of the “Digital Silk Road,” actively develop “Silk Road e-commerce,” and promote the establishment of a new type of international relationship centered on cooperation and mutual benefit. This includes creating a multi-dimensional, multi-platform, and multi-stakeholder international exchange and cooperation system in the digital domain.

Thirdly, we should continue to promote high-level opening-up to the outside world. Steadily expand institutional opening-up in areas such as rules, regulations, management, and standards, and leverage China’s advantage of having a large-scale market to attract global resource elements and expand international cooperation space in the digital domain.

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