Jiang Tianjiao:The Shift of China's Strategic Thinking on Cyberwarfare Since the 1990s

Author:Jiang Tianjiao Release date:2022-07-08 17:51:46Source:Journal of Chinese Political Science on 25 June . 2022


It has been widely argued that China has prepared for launching cyberwarfare against the United States for long time. There are two reasons for this. First, the revolution of cyber technology changed the offense-defense balance, which will lead to frequent cyber conflicts. Second, with the relative decline of the United States and the rising up of China in recent years, there has been growing concerns about a Thucydides Trap between the two great powers, and cyberwar is very likely to happen. However, except for disputes on cyber espionage, China showed restraint on the offensive use of its cyberpower. This paper argues that China’s strategic thinking on cyber offense, defense, and cyberwarfare has been evolving over the past decades. Through content analysis of official documents and academic writings, this paper sheds light on the recent discussions and development of China’s cyber offense and defense strategy. With China’s gradual access to the global Internet and extensive participation in the international economic division of labor, maintaining the stability of global cyberspace is of greater significance to China, and the cost of launching cyber warfare is higher and higher. Such findings help avoid miscalculation and maintain strategic stability between China and the United States in cyberspace.



Cyber deterrenceCybersecurityStrategic thinkingChina cyberpowerChina-US



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