As the first paper written by Chinese scholars specifically devoted to the application of the principle of distinction in IHL to cyberspace operations, this piece provides a different perspective by injecting the positions of Chinese officials and the views of Chinese scholars. The authors aim to clarify whether the existing rules are still completely applicable in the cyber context, and if needed, to find out what kind of improvements and clarifications can be made. They argue that, despite the potential technical challenges and uncertainties, the principle of distinction should be applied to cyberspace. In applying such principle, they argue that it makes more sense to focus on substantive elements over formal elements such as carrying arms openly or having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance. Finally, they look at the application in cyberspace of the different criteria triggering the application of IHL in cyberspace.
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