China's role in shaping a global information order: cyber-sovereignty, norms and information technology

Research output: Working paper


How does China shape a global information order, regarding the norms and institutions that manage the cross-border flows of data? Information is a most highly-prized resource, and information technologies are now ubiquitous in all aspects of life. ‘Cyber norms’ are the preferred tool to govern cross-border flows of information, given the rapidity of technological change. Concurrently, China’s technological advantages, growing material power, and ambitions to be a ‘cyber superpower’ all underscore the point that no major social or political issue can be multilaterally mediated without at least tacit PRC cooperation. China’s preferred set of ‘cyber-sovereignty’ norms reorient internet governance to the United Nations and specialist state-led international fora, and emphasise the dominant position of the state over that of the individual in regards to information management (i.e. limiting information access in a state’s ‘information space;’ minimising the need for individual consent; limiting concerns about individual privacy when collecting/repurposing personal data). This project addresses how China applies ‘cyber-sovereignty’ norms when information technologies (networked systems, drones, blockchain, internet etc.) are used in UN human protection operations – empirical material that is yet to be systematically interrogated in a theoretically- informed manner. Therefore, this project contributes to questions of enormous academic and popular interest on whether China will shape the use of information technologies; how a rising China will remake global orders, and China’s use of norm contestation to project discursive power internationally.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2022


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