China's Cybersecurity Law: What You Need to Know

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Because of the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War and because Japan was used as the model for political and legal reform, the law codes which were adopted were modeled closely after that of Germany. The core of modern Chinese law is based on Germanic-style civil law , socialist law , and traditional Chinese approaches. It also makes it irrelevant whether the ruler has superior abilities. Although the Constitution provides for legislative, executive, judicial, and procuratorial powers, they all remain subject to Communist Party leadership. In addition, the law also requires business information and data on Chinese citizens gathered within China to be kept on domestic servers and not transferred abroad without permission. Several of the provisions outlined above have become a cause for concern among foreign companies. With the Sino-Soviet split and the Cultural Revolution , all legal work came under suspicion of being counter-revolutionary, and the legal system completely collapsed.

China Clarifies Requirements for Companies Regarding Consumers’ Personal Information

The basic premise of Confucianism is the idea that human beings are fundamentally good. With this optimistic view on human potential, Confucius advocates for ruling through li — traditional customs, mores, and norms — which allow people to have a sense of shame and become humane people with good character, rather than through government regulations and penal law.

The idea is that people will internalize the acceptable norms and only take proper actions. In contrast, codified laws require external compliance, and people may abide by the laws without fully understanding the reason for compliance.

As such, a social order achieved through formal laws does not come with the additional benefit of better citizenry. It is worth noting, however, that even Confucius did not advocate for the elimination of formal laws. In addition to willing participation of citizens, there must also be grounds or bases upon which commonly acceptable solutions can be arrived at — the concept known as li.

Li is commonly understood as a set of culturally and socially valued norms that provide guidance to proper behaviors that will ultimately lead to a harmonious society. These norms are not fixed or unchangeable over time but rather a reflection of what is accepted at a particular time in a particular context. When conflicts arise, the li have to be applied and interpreted to produce a just result and restore the harmony of the society.

However, in the absence of any procedural safeguard afforded by codified laws, interpretation of li is subject to abuse. Recognizing that people in a society hold diverse interests, Confucius charges the ruler with the responsibility to unify these interests and maintain social order. This is not done by dictatorship but by setting an example.

Therefore, a ruler needs not to force his people to behave properly. Nevertheless, the ruler must know and understand the li to be able to create solutions to conflict and problems the society faces.

As the people are to follow the moral standards and example set by the ruler, to a large extent, the quality of the ruler determines the quality of the political order. Therefore, if left unrestrained, people would engage in selfish behavior which will undoubtedly lead to social unrest. To cure this defect and force people to behave morally, the only way, believed the legalists, is to publicly promulgate clearly written laws and impose harsh punishments.

This ensures that the laws will be applied impartially without the interference of personal bias of the ruler or ones who are responsible for applying the laws. It also makes it irrelevant whether the ruler has superior abilities. Notwithstanding such an understanding, the ruler, like in Confucianism, has the ultimate authority to decide what the law should be. Therefore, like Confucianism, Legalism is subject to abuse as well.

In fact, the Qin emperor implemented strict laws and extremely harsh punishments without taking into account mitigating circumstances even for insignificant crimes. For example, books were burned and people holding different ideals were buried alive. While the Qin emperor successfully instilled fear and respect for law into the minds of his people, the harshness of the law led to his quick demise after only 14 years of reigning over China. In summary, although both Confucianism and Legalism were developed in a period of turmoil and both were aimed at the re-unification of the country, the two theories went opposite directions with one advocating for and one against the use of formal laws to achieve social order.

What the two theories have in common is their concession of the ultimate authority to the ruler, who remained above and beyond the li or law. It is true that neither theory is ideal in achieving a social order. Nevertheless, both theories have had a significant impact on the cultural and legal development in China, and their influence remains visible today. The significant influence of the Legalist tradition in Chinese law has historically been overlooked.

Although the Confucian ideology provided the fundamentals for the substance of traditional law, the Legalist school constructed the important framework of the traditional legal system. The Han dynasty retained the basic legal system established under the Qin but modified some of the harsher aspects in line with the Confucian philosophy of social control.

The Han dynasty formally recognized four sources of law: Most legal professionals were not lawyers but generalists trained in philosophy and literature. The local, classically trained, Confucian gentry played a crucial role as arbiters and handled all but the most serious local disputes.

Eventually, the incorporation of the essentials of Confucianist li into legal codes occurred with this Confucian conception dominating ancient Chinese law. For example, li could be enforced by moral influence and legal means.

The metamorphosis of li into law depended on its widespread and unvaried acceptance by society. Although the codification of law was largely completed by the Tang Code of CE , throughout the centuries the Confucian foundations of the Tang Code were retained, and indeed with some aspects of it strengthened by the later dynasties.

The Great Ming Code , which was a model for the Qing code, covered every part of social and political life, especially family and ritual, but also foreign relations and even relations of earthly life with the cosmos. The Confucian notion that morality and self-discipline was more important than legal codes caused many historians, such as Max Weber , until the midth century to conclude that law was not an important part of Imperial Chinese society.

This notion, however, has come under extreme criticism and is no longer the conventional wisdom among Sinologists, who have concluded that Imperial China had an elaborate system of both criminal and civil law which was comparable to anything found in Europe. One element of the traditional Chinese criminal justice system is the notion that criminal law has a moral purpose, one of which is to get the convicted to repent and see the error of his ways. In the traditional Chinese legal system, a person could not be convicted of a crime unless he has confessed.

This often led to the use of torture , in order to extract the necessary confession. These elements still influence modern Chinese views toward law.

All capital offenses were reported to the capital and required the personal approval of the emperor. There was no civil code separate from the criminal code , which led to the now discredited belief that traditional Chinese law had no civil law.

More recent studies have demonstrated that most of the magistrates' legal work was in civil disputes, and that there was an elaborate system of civil law which used the criminal code to establish torts. The introduction and translation of Western legal texts into Chinese is believed to have been started under the auspices of Lin Zexu in More systematic introduction of Western law together with other Western sciences started with the establishment of Tongwen Guan in The major efforts in translation of Western law that continued until the s prepared the building blocks for modern Chinese legal language and Chinese law.

These efforts were assisted by the medium of the Japanese legal language and law developed in Japan during the Meiji period which involved in large part Japanese translation of European Continental laws. In the late Qing dynasty there was a concerted effort to establish legal codes based on European models.

Because of the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War and because Japan was used as the model for political and legal reform, the law codes which were adopted were modeled closely after that of Germany. Attitudes toward the traditional Chinese legal system changed markedly in the lateth century. Most Chinese and Westerners of the early 20th century regarded the traditional Chinese legal system as backward and barbaric.

However, extensive research into China's traditional legal system has caused attitudes to become more favorable in the lateth and early 21st centuries. Researchers of the early and midth century tended to compare the traditional Chinese legal system to then contemporary systems, finding the former to be backward. However, more recent research compared the 18th-century Chinese legal system to European systems of the 18th century, resulting in a far more positive view of traditional Chinese law.

Law in the Republic of China Taiwan is mainly a civil law system. The legal structure is codified into the Six Codes: With the Sino-Soviet split and the Cultural Revolution , all legal work came under suspicion of being counter-revolutionary, and the legal system completely collapsed.

Many have existing internal policies for information technology and data management and privacy in China, linked to long-standing concerns around intellectual property security, which apply to both in-country operations and travel for international staff. Despite the reports of some companies in critical sectors already preparing for compliance, most firms appear to be adopting a wait-and-see approach to the Cybersecurity Law, anticipating some communication from the authorities about a phase-in period.

The law presents another important operational consideration for businesses present in the Chinese market. Although unlikely to deter investment, it will introduce another layer of internet regulation on key businesses in China that could reduce efficiency or undermine long-term competitiveness.

My Account Sign In. Life and Politics in Asia. The law, which comes into effect June 1, raises data protection concerns for foreign firms. By Jack Wagner for The Diplomat. Background Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Scope of the Law The Cybersecurity Law is applicable to network operators and businesses in critical sectors. Concerns and Uncertainty Several of the provisions outlined above have become a cause for concern among foreign companies.

Compliance and Implications The implementation of the law could be phased in gradually, which will allow companies to better assess their obligations and learn from the experience of other firms.

President Donald Trump's tweets could end up sparing Sayfullo Saipov life. Europe's Answer to China's Belt and Road. A group of Rohingyas are tortured, then made to lie to the press about their treatment upon returning to Myanmar. Sign up for our weekly newsletter. The first of nine domestically built 3,ton diesel-electric air independent propulsion subs was launched on September Accepting Putin's offer would go against long-standing Japanese position on the territorial dispute. A new law in China taking affect in March of this year will provide businesses with a clearer understanding of what types of information are protected as consumer personal information in China.

A failure by businesses to recognise these new requirements can lead to onerous penalties including fines. Currently in China, personal information, as referred to in various PRC regulations covering data protection, is defined in broad terms as any identifying information.

The essence of this definition, albeit with some variations, is found in various PRC laws, regulations, and non-binding standards which include data privacy provisions, here listed in date order:. Additionally, the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests effective from 15 March Consumer Rights Protection Law issued by the State Administration of Industry and Commerce SAIC which is charged with consumer protection covering both online and offline transactions uses the term personal information but fails to define it.

To date, the Provisions on Protecting the Personal Information of Telecoms and Internet Users which places obligations on telecommunications business operators and Internet Information Service Providers which includes any organization operating a website is the only binding law that has further described the definition of personal information through the use of lists of categories or examples.

Consumer protection law, however, as noted above, has up until now not included a definition of personal information, whether in a general sense, in a list, or otherwise. The lack of a definition of personal information in the Consumer Rights Protection Law is about to change.


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In the wake of China’s Cybersecurity Law going into effect on June 1, , local authorities in Shantou and Chongqing have brought enforcement actions against information technology companies for violations of the Cybersecurity Law. These are, reportedly, the first enforcement actions brought pursuant to the Cybersecurity Law. The privacy and security amendments to the consumer protection law align with the Decision’s provisions regarding notice, consent, disclosure of personal electronic information, electronic commercial communications and the requirements for security and remedial actions. These three laws operate in tandem to regulate many aspects of cybersecurity and privacy law in China, while potentially giving the .