Draft amendments to mapping law to provide geographic information security

Updated 2017-04-25 08:31:12 Global Times

Chinese lawmakers are studying amendments to the surveying and mapping law to protect geographic information security and raise public awareness on the national territory.

The amendments were submitted to legislators on second reading at the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which runs from Monday to Thursday, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

The revisions deal with the use of safe, reliable technology and equipment, managing navigation and positioning reference stations and supervision of Internet mapping services, Xinhua reported.

Violators could face fines of up to 1 million yuan ($ 145,000) or have their business licenses revoked, and could face criminal charges.

Foreign offenders could be deported, the report added.

The law was crafted in 1992 and amended for the first time 10 years later.

With the aim of protecting "national sovereignty and interests," Chinese authorities also ordered stricter regulations on the use of maps by websites and online service operators in September 2016.

In June 2016, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information said in a statement that illegal mapping is a "serious" problem in remote areas of western China.

Most of those areas are underprivileged and lack sufficient mapping information, and they are often targeted by espionage because many key national defense and military facilities are stationed there, experts had told the Global Times.

China's National Defense News reported that the illegal acquisition of geographic information by overseas organizations and individuals is common, particularly in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Northwest China's Shaanxi, and Northeast China's Liaoning and Jilin provinces.

A Japanese national was deported in 2011 after being caught illegally surveying and mapping in Shaanxi Province, Xinhua reported.

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