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China's draft national security law calls for cyberspace "sovereignty"

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 13:43
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China has included cybersecurity in a draft national security law, the latest in a string of moves by Beijing to bolster the legal framework protecting the country's information technology.

[BEIJING] China has included cybersecurity in a draft national security law, the latest in a string of moves by Beijing to bolster the legal framework protecting the country's information technology.

China has recently advanced a wave of policies to tighten cybersecurity after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that US spy agencies planted code in American tech exports to snoop on overseas targets.

The standing committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, reviewed a cyberspace "sovereignty"clause in a proposed national security law, according to a draft posted online this week after its second reading in late April. "The state establishes national internet and information security safeguard systems ... and protects national internet space sovereignty, security and development interests," the draft said.

The country must "achieve security and control in internet and information core technology, key infrastructure, and important data and information systems", it said, as well as strengthen internet management and punish internet attacks.

It also said China's banking infrastructure must be strengthened and its financial systems improved to withstand international risks and shocks. It did not give specific guidelines for implementation.

China's earlier attempts to regulate cybersecurity were most clearly articulated in bank-technology guidelines and a proposed counter-terrorism law, which called for the similar use of"secure and controllable" technology that is developed in China or source code that is released to Chinese inspectors.

China's banking regulator temporarily suspended the financial industry rules after feedback from banks and an outcry from foreign governments and business, which argued they were unfair and motivated by protectionism.

But the foreign business community has said China could revive the banking rules in some form.

In addition to the national security law, the controversial anti-terrorism draft law is also still being reviewed by the NPC standing committee, a group of about 200 members, which often adopts laws after three readings.

President Xi Jinping, who heads a newly established national security commission, has said China's security covers a wide array of areas, including politics, culture, the military, the economy, technology and the environment.

The sweeping national security law has broad implications for the ruling Communist Party's governance of society, including powers for dealing with "harmful moral standards".

REUTERS