Talking Points of H.E. Yang Xiuping at Session II “the Role of Digital Diplomacy in Crisis Situation” of
Regional Conference on Digital Diplomacy
(Sep. 10th, Jakarta)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to return to the beautiful Jakarta again to attend the Regional Conference on Digital Diplomacy. As the first resident Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN and the former Secretary-General of ASEAN-China Center, I have personally experienced and witnessed the development of China-ASEAN relations since 2012. I am so very happy to meet lots of old and new friends here. I would like to extend my appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia for the good preparation and considerate arrangements for this conference. Now, I’d like to share with you my views on the topic of “the Role of Digital Diplomacy in Crisis Situation”.
The development of digital technology and social media has enabled people to spread and access information more freely, quickly and widely. At the same time, it has made various “fake news” spread faster and wider, and be more harmful and sometimes formidable, posing severe challenges for other countries to maintain cyber order and guide public opinion. Its damage can be summed up as follows:
Firstly, it will create social chaos. By distorting the facts, fabricating and magnifying negative social news, fake news will intensify social unrest and instigate people in some countries and regions to take anti-government activities, leading to “color revolution”, which have been witnessed in some Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries.
Secondly, it will deteriorate bilateral relations. By maliciously hyping up the sensitive issues and cooking up negative fake news about bilateral cooperation by “double standards”, it obstruct bilateral pragmatic cooperation and weakens the public support for the development of the bilateral friendly relations.
Third, it will increase administrative costs. It is easy to spread a rumor, but difficult to make a clarification. The cost of clarifying a rumor far exceeds the cost of making one, including It take a lot of time and effort to investigate and collect evidence to clarify a rumor, greatly exceeding the cost of making one. And sometimes when the truth comes out, the fake news has already caused very bad social damage, and the focus of public opinion has changed.
As many other countries, China is also a victims of fake news in international public opinions. Some countries and media always look at China with strong ideological hostility. They treat China’s development with cold war mentality and zero-sum thinking, and deliberately defame China’s exchanges and cooperation with other countries, which seriously undermines China’s international image and obstruct China’s friendly relations with neighboring countries. For dealing with fake news, I have the following suggestions to make.
Firstly, release the truth timely. Fake news will have nowhere to hide under the light of the truth. It is necessary to closely follow the news online. In case of fake news, real information should be released to the public through social media in time and with solid evidence.
Secondly, use legal means to punish rumormongers severely. The internet should not be a place in which laws do not apply. The social hazards caused by “fake news” is no less than those brought by traditional crimes. Some countries, such as Singapore, are adopting legislative means to severely punish rumormongers, and I think this practice is worth promoting.
Thirdly, strengthen international cooperation in dealing with fake news. China is willing to strengthen policy communication with all countries and international organizations including ASEAN in dealing with false news, to explore the establishment of a regulatory cooperation mechanism, and strengthen the identification and monitoring of fake news involving each other, maintaining a peaceful and friendly regional environment. At the same time, the media should also carry out active communication and exchanges, strengthen self-discipline, and promote the in-depth and long-term development of friendly relations between countries, to benefit the people of all countries.
I wish this conference a complete success.