Despite Foreign Opposition China Implements New Cybersecurity Law

Laura Christensen
November 8, 2016

China has approved a controversial new cybersecurity law, drawing swift criticism from worldwide business and human rights groups.

The Cybersecurity Law also criminalizes several categories of content, including that which encourages "overthrowing the socialist system", "fabricating or spreading false information to disturb economic order", or "inciting separatism or damage national unity".

"The government will take measures to 'monitor, defend and handle cybersecurity risks and threats originating from within the country or overseas sources, protecting key information infrastructure from attack, intrusion, disturbance and damage, 'the law reads", said a report on China Radio International's website. Trade associations and human rights groups in the United States and other nations have warned of the implications of the law both for human rights and internet businesses in the country. Business groups worry that parts of the law - such as required security checks on companies in industries like finance and communications, and mandatory in-country data storage - will make foreign operations more expensive or lock them out altogether.

China has gradually expanded its online controls under President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese state defended the law.

China has passed a controversial cybersecurity law on Monday to combat growing threats of hacking and terrorism, Beijing said. The law also makes censorship a matter of cybersecurity, threatening to punish companies that allow unapproved information to circulate online.

"The Chinese government is right in wanting to ensure the security of digital systems and information here, but this law doesn't achieve that".

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Those who violate the provisions and infringe on personal information will face fines of up to one million yuan (about 148,000 USA dollars), according to the law, which adds that if illegal activities have led to profits, violators will face fines of up to 10 times their earnings.

China's new cybersecurity law will increase the government's control over the internet while making it increasingly hard for businesses to operate within the country.

The law's requirements for national security reviews and data sharing will "unnecessarily weaken security and potentially expose personal information", said Zimmerman. "They see it as synonymous with trade barriers", said Zhao Zeliang, the CAC spokesman.

In particular, a second draft of the law said foreign businesses did not need to keep all of their data inside China - just important business data collected within China or about Chinese consumers.

China's top legislative body on Monday adopted its long-expected film law, which may further restrict foreign film players whose other work includes themes sensitive in China such as Tibetan independence.

Critics of the future law - largely from outside China itself - have raised serious issues that would require "critical information infrastructure operators" to cooperate in passing on "technical support" to security agencies, as well as being reviewed regularly by the government.

Other reports by My Hot News

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