China Adopts Cyber Security Law to Protect 

National Security, Citizens' Rights

China's top legislature on Monday adopted the Cyber Security Law to safeguard sovereignty on cyberspace, national security and the rights of citizens.

The government will take measures to "monitor, defend and handle cyber security risks and threats originating from within the country or overseas sources, protecting key information infrastructure from attack, intrusion, disturbance and damage," the law states.

Efforts will also be made to punish criminal activities online and safeguard the order and security of cyberspace.

Online activities that attempt to overthrow the socialist system, split the nation, undermine national unity, advocate terrorism and extremism are all prohibited, according to the provisions, which also forbid activities including inciting ethnic hatred, discrimination and spreading violence and obscene information.

The law obliges network operators to assist public security and national security organs in activities including safeguarding national security and investigating crimes.

According to the provisions, temporary measures including network communications control can be taken upon the decision or approval of the State Council in response to incidents that threaten public security.

The law was passed at the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which concluded Monday, after a third reading.

As a big country with 700 million Internet users, better Internet legislation in China not only helps improve its own national cyber security, but also contributes to global cyber security.

The Cyber Security Law has identified various systems to ensure cyber security based on experience-learning from other countries, wide public consultations and prudent studies. It treats domestic and foreign companies equally rather than differently, which is consistent with international trade rules and common practice.


The law demands better protective measures for important industries, including public communications and information services, energy, transportation, finance and e-government services.

It complies with international conventions for nations to protect their key information infrastructure, said Zuo Xiaodong, vice president of the China Information Security Research Institute. Calling the provisions both necessary and timely, Zuo said safeguarding the key information infrastructure protected economic, social and national security.

According to 2014 data from the Cyberspace Administration of China, China has been a victim of cyber-attacks. More than 10,000 websites are tampered with every month, and about 80 percent of government websites suffered attacks, mainly originating in the United States.


Network operators are not allowed to leak, change or damage the personal information they gather, and are not permitted to offer personal information to others without consent of the persons involved, the provisions said. The law criminalizes websites that facilitate online fraud. The manufacturing and selling of illegal products online is also prohibited, according to the legislation.

Wang Sixin, professor of law with the Communication University of China, said the provisions would play a positive role in protecting the personal information of the public, as it not only clarified the responsibilities of Internet service providers and operators, but also promised heavy penalties for trading personal information.

According to the Internet Society of China, about 84 percent of Internet users in the country say that they have been affected by personal information leaks. The number of Internet users in China hit 710 million in June of 2016.


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