Reuters reports that two Chinese military officers released a party-run essay which claims that China is shifting military priorities to cyber-warfare as the Internet becomes “the crucial battleground for opinion and intelligence.”

The essay, written by two strategists from the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Sciences, Senior Colonel Ye Zheng and Zhao Baoxian, reveals that Beijing is focused on honing its cyber-warfare skills, and sees “an unfettered Internet as a threat to its Communist Party-run state.”

They wrote:

“Just as nuclear warfare was the strategic war of the industrial era, cyber-warfare has become the strategic war of the information era, and this has become a form of battle that is massively destructive and concerns the life and death of nations.”

The PLA strategists fear for their country about the Internet being used as a tool to target the public with psychological warfare. They said that the Internet “has become the main battleground of contention over public opinion.”

Google and Washington have refused to point a finger to China for the recent Gmail attacks but it was revealed that that province where it originates from, Jinan, happens to be the home to a signals intelligence unit of the People’s Liberation Army.

Currently, there is still suspicion that some individual or entity in China was behind the series of cyber attacks, more recently involving the White House and global security company Lockheed Martin.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry quickly denied the allegations, branding it unacceptable, groundless and motivated by “ulterior motives.”