China's Policy on Encryption Technology: Balancing National Security, Commercial and Political Interests

Date and Time

October 11, 2001 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Okimoto Conference Room, Third Floor, Encina Hall, East Wing

As China is gradually integrated into the international economic, security, and politics system, the tension between technological self-reliance and the need to build its technological enhancement on what is available in international market, will inevitably increase. Reflecting this tension, China's encryption policy was thrust into the international limelight in late 1999 and the first half of 2000. The early encryption regulations were announced and later were clarified. A wide range of international media has covered controversies related to the encryption policy. For every nation in the world, encryption's multifaceted nature requires a painstaking effort balancing potentially competing interests. It is even more so for China, the country which will officially join the WTO at the end of 2001. The concerns of multiple stakeholders about the future of encryption technology and its impact have raised policy questions about the management and control of encryption technology. Among the questions Chinese decision makers face are the following: --How to evaluate China's current encryption policy from an international perspective? --How to justify the toughness of the original encryption regulations and the relaxation afterwards in China's complex and rapidly changing domestic and international context? The purpose of Dr. Yuan's study is to assist Chinese policymakers in analyzing the status quo of the policy, objectives, and factors affecting encryption policymaking and to offer suggestions for the future. It provides an integrated assessment of how encryption policy decisions can and might affect diverse military, commercial, and political interests in China and suggests how those interests might be balanced most effectively.

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