China today adopted a new Cybersecurity law which Human Rights Watch (HRW) said is “a regressive measure that strengthens censorship, surveillance, and other controls over the Internet”.
The Wall Street Journal said the new law is also aimed at tightening and centralizing state control over technology equipment, “raising concerns among foreign companies operating in the country.”
China’s state-run radio called it a law to prohibit “online activities that are attempts to overthrow the socialist system, split the nation, undermine national unity, advocate terrorism and extremism”.
“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.
That essentially translates to censorship through the lens of cybersecurity.
HRW said the new law “requires a range of companies to censor ‘prohibit’ information and restrict online anonymity…requires ‘critical information infrastructure operators’ to store users’ ‘personal information and other important business data’ in China” among other restrictions.
“Despite widespread international concern from corporations and rights advocates for more than a year, Chinese authorities pressed ahead with this restrictive law without making meaningful changes,” said Sophie Richardson, China Director, Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a statement on the HRW web site.
“The already heavily censored Internet in China needs more freedom, not less,” she added.
This new law was passed today at the bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, after a third reading, CRI said.