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Monday, November 7, 2016, 12:31

New online security law no barrier for trade

By Cao Yin

Reviews are applied to both domestic and foreign web products, internet official says

New online security law no barrier for trade
A graphic shaped in the outline of China, is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in Singapore in this January 2, 2014 file photo illustration. (Photo / Agencies)

China's first Cybersecurity Law , unveiled on Monday, is not an attempt to block foreign web products and services, according to the nation's top internet watchdog.

The law states that online products and services, domestic and foreign, that could form key internet infrastructure or affect state security must pass a government review to enter the Chinese market.

Zhao Zeliang, director of cybersecurity for the Cyberspace Administration of China, insisted on Monday that the law is not intended to be a trade barrier.

"Cybersecurity is a challenge for every country, not only China, and it requires us all to cooperate to overcome it," he said. "The law is not there to restrict any overseas product or service in our market.

"Some people, especially foreigners, show great concern when we talk about safe and reliable products, because in their minds they equate it to a trade barrier. This is a misunderstanding," he said, adding that national standards for online products and services have been consistent.

Zhao spoke at a news conference on the legislation, which was passed at the recent session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee. The NPC is China's top legislature.

All 79 articles in the Cybersecurity Law, which comes into effect on June 1, complies with international trade rules, "because we've done in-depth studies and solicited public opinion for each", he said.

"The law is designed to maintain state sovereignty and state security , and safeguard the rights of citizens, enterprises and organizations in cyberspace.

"During the lawmaking process, the balance of security protection and economic development was always highlighted."

Zhao said cybersecurity efforts will help to implement China's opening-up policy, adding that President Xi Jinping has said that the country's door will not and cannot be closed to the world.

Yang Heqing, deputy director of the Office for Economic Law, part of the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission, said the law is vital as China is an online superpower with 700 million netizens and also a major target for online attacks.

"Some online behavior, such as illegal information, harms residents, and the legislation is to improve the governance in cyberspace by rule of law and also to clean up the online environment," he said.

The law has clarified responsibilities and obligations for governments, enterprises, operators and individuals, "and increased the protection of personal information", he added.

Wang Sixin, a law professor specializing in cybersecurity at the Communication University of China, said the check on products and services is a necessity.

"It's a practical move in line with our demand of internet development," he said.

But he added that the law is just a legal framework that cannot solve all online problems. "It is the just the first step."

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