Explained: The nature of the cyber security threat from China

Written by Manraj Grewal Sharma , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh | Updated: September 15, 2020 7:10:23 pm A Chinese national flag flies from a ferry. (Bloomberg Photo: Qilai Shen)The Indian Express’s ‘China is Watching‘ investigation has spotlighted an elaborate operation by a Shenzen-based technology company with links to the government in Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party, to keep tabs on a very large number of individuals and entities in India. The company, Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, calls itself a pioneer in using big data for “hybrid warfare” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. [embedded content] China’s authoritarian government, ruling party, military, and many private companies frequently operate as a giant, coordinated operation, of which countries around the world are targets. When did China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) step into the field of cyber warfare? It was soon after the Gulf War of 1991 that the Chinese realised that the days of conventional warfare were rapidly coming to an end. Pavithran Rajan, a former Indian Army officer and information warfare expert, who has authored ‘Engaging China: Indian Interests in the Information Age’, says the Chinese understood that American technology was far ahead of them. “They analysed that if they get into the ICT (information and communications technology), they could leapfrog a couple of generations and get ahead. This decision also coincided with China turning into the electronics factory of the world.” In 2003, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and China’s Central Military Commission officially approved the concept of “Three Warfares”, comprising psychological, media, and legal warfare. “It was then decided at the highest levels that the PLA should be an army ready to fight a war in the information domain by 2020,” Pavithran said. Soon, the PLA began to set up intelligence units dedicated to cyber operations.

Explained: The nature of the cyber security threat from China
Written by Manraj Grewal Sharma , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh | Updated: September 15, 2020 7:10:23 pm A Chinese national flag flies from a ferry. (Bloomberg Photo: Qilai Shen)The Indian Express’s ‘China is Watching‘ investigation has spotlighted an elaborate operation by a Shenzen-based technology company with links to the government in Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party, to keep tabs on a very large number of individuals and entities in India. The company, Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, calls itself a pioneer in using big data for “hybrid warfare” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. [embedded content] China’s authoritarian government, ruling party, military, and many private companies frequently operate as a giant, coordinated operation, of which countries around the world are targets. When did China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) step into the field of cyber warfare? It was soon after the Gulf War of 1991 that the Chinese realised that the days of conventional warfare were rapidly coming to an end. Pavithran Rajan, a former Indian Army officer and information warfare expert, who has authored ‘Engaging China: Indian Interests in the Information Age’, says the Chinese understood that American technology was far ahead of them. “They analysed that if they get into the ICT (information and communications technology), they could leapfrog a couple of generations and get ahead. This decision also coincided with China turning into the electronics factory of the world.” In 2003, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and China’s Central Military Commission officially approved the concept of “Three Warfares”, comprising psychological, media, and legal warfare. “It was then decided at the highest levels that the PLA should be an army ready to fight a war in the information domain by 2020,” Pavithran said. Soon, the PLA began to set up intelligence units dedicated to cyber operations.