China adopts cybersecurity law in face of overseas opposition

  08 Nov 2016

BEIJING (Reuters) – China adopted a controversial cybersecurity law on Monday to counter what Beijing says are growing threats such as hacking and terrorism, although the law has triggered concern from foreign business and rights groups. [restrict]

The legislation, passed by China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament and set to come into effect in June 2017, is an “objective need” of China as a major internet power, a parliament official said.

Overseas critics of the law argue it threatens to shut foreign technology companies out of various sectors deemed “critical”, and includes contentious requirements for security reviews and for data to be stored on servers located in China.

Rights advocates also say the law will enhance restrictions on China’s internet, already subject to the world’s most sophisticated online censorship mechanism, known outside the country as the Great Firewall.

Yang Heqing, an official on the National People’s Congress standing committee, said the internet was already deeply linked to China’s national security and development.

“China is an internet power, and as one of the countries that faces the greatest internet security risks, urgently needs to establish and perfect network security legal systems,” Yang told reporters at the close of a bimonthly legislative meeting.

More than 40 global business groups petitioned Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in August, urging Beijing to amend controversial sections of the law. Chinese officials have said it would not interfere with foreign business interests.

Contentious provisions remained in the final draft of the law issued by the parliament, including requirements for “critical information infrastructure operators” to store personal information and important business data in China, provide unspecified “technical support” to security agencies, and pass national security reviews. [/restrict]