China's Growing Influence over the Rules of the Digital Road

This essay examines the growing role of China in international standards-setting organizations as a window into its efforts to influence global digital governance institutions and highlights areas where the U.S. can preserve its interests in cyberspace. In recent years China's international influence in shaping the digital rules of the road has increased. Evidence of the country's growing role in digital standards-setting organizations comes from increased numbers of submissions to key international technical standards bodies as well as enhanced Chinese representation in leadership positions in these bodies. This trend is evident in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, which provide opportunities for China to lead in the formulation of new systems of standards. At the same time, it is important to avoid overstating the country's role in global digital governance. China's standards-setting influence is qualified by the caliber of its submissions and by comparison with other leading countries.

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