China's Minister of Public Security, Guo Shengkun, said member states of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics must enforce stricter state control over the Internet to prevent external forces from overthrowing their governments.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Guo said external forces were using the Internet to "provoke a new wave of color revolutions."
"Color revolutions" is the Russian phrase used to describe the wave of street protests that ousted leaders in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan over the past decade.
"This is a serious threat to the sovereignty and security of countries in the region and is a shared concern of the SCO member states," said Guo.
The SCO is a security alliance consisting of China, Russia and the six Central Asian countries of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan that were once part of the former USSR.
Guo accused Western nations of exploiting social-economic contradictions and problems in their efforts to overthrow foreign governments. In order to defeat regime change, Guo told SCO member states to develop measures that "counteract interference in internal affairs from abroad, strengthen management of non-government organizations and control over social networks in order to discover, analyze, counter and regulate factors of uncertainty and avoid repeats of color revolution scenarios."
China is already treading this road. It announced in February that President Xi Jinping heads a new working group on cybersecurity and information security, an indication of the importance China attaches to monitoring the Internet. China apparently wants other SCO member states to take similar action.
"The Chinese side is prepared to study, together with all the SCO member states, the possibility of establishing an SCO center to fight against challenges and threats to security," Guo said.
He noted that terrorists and extremists from SCO member states are very active in the Middle East and North Africa. He noted that terrorists take advantage of online social networks to spread their ideology and raise money for their operations.
The President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, later pledged to cooperate with China in the fight against the triple threats of separatism, extremism and terrorism.