Policy Brief | A coalition of the unwilling? Chinese & Russian perspectives on cyberspace

Policy Brief | A coalition of the unwilling? Chinese & Russian perspectives on cyberspace

New publication / 5 Nov 2019

In this policy brief, Dennis Broeders, Liisi Adamson and Rogier Creemers explore aspects of the relationship between China and Russia in cyberspace.

Lucas Kello is Associate Professor of International Relations, serves as Director of the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs, and is also co-Director of the interdisciplinary Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security at the Department of Computer Science at University of Oxford.

Duncan Hollis is the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Law at Temple Law School, Temple University. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Bibi van den Berg is Professor of Cybersecurity Governance within the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs.

China and Russia have distinct views on the global order and the role of cyber therein, expressed in a conceptual vocabulary that has received little scholarly attention. This vocabulary is also used to frame their concerns and fears about cyber-borne threats. The approaches and policies of Russia and China are often married together under the heading of "the Sino-Russian approach". This rings true not only in cybersecurity and -defence related discourse, but in West vs. East geopolitics in general. The Sino-Russian approach is often contrasted to the Western or "likeminded" approach, which represents the liberal world order. At the same time, little attention has been paid to the question, how united this Sino-Russian front is. Is it "us against the world"? Is the Sino-Russian approach "likeminded" in its grouping? Or are there discrepancies in this united front? Having a one-dimensional view of the Chinese-Russian relationship and omitting the different motives and goals of both actors undermine the intricacies and possibilities that a deeper understanding of the cyberspace-related policies of both countries might bring to western analysts and policy makers.

About this policy brief

In order to explore aspects of the Sino-Russian relationship in cyberspace, The Hague Program for Cyber Norms and the Leiden Asia Centre convened a dozen experts for a workshop in The Hague in May 2019. The experts were all from Europe and North America focusing on China or Russia - sometimes both - and most of them focused on aspects of foreign policy and/or cyberspace. The workshop was held under Chatham House rule.

You can download the policy brief here.

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