China extends rule of law on Internet

Updated 2017-09-18 09:00:35 Global Times

Measures taken to target unauthorized VPN market

China has accelerated the development of cyber laws since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), by actively engaging the government, Internet service providers and netizens in creating a clean cyber environment, observers said.

This year's China Cybersecurity Week begins on Saturday in Shanghai, with Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, invited to speak at its opening ceremony.

Liu, also deputy head of the central Internet security and information leading group, stressed the need to better manage the Internet and fight cyber crimes, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Any person or organization should follow the law and respect others' rights on the Internet, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), also known as the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, said on Sunday.

The CAC added that cyberspace is not outlaw territory, that it's also covered by laws.

Cyber rule of law

"China has created a cyber security law and other cyberspace strategies and regulations," Wang Sixin, deputy dean of the School of Literature and Law at Communication University of China, told the Global Times.

Wang said that pushing for cyberspace laws leads to the "rule of law on the Internet," and allows the government to better manage the Internet. "Netizens will be prone to harmful-even terrorist-information on the Internet if it isn't appropriately regulated," Wang said.

The National People's Congress passed China's first Cyber security Law in November 2016, which allows authorities to take action against overseas individuals or organizations that harm China's interests.

In July, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) also announced that all businesses operating in China need to register with the authorities, and that businesses with a website need to obtain an Internet Content Provider license.

"Our measures are aimed at better regulating China's VPN market, and only target unregistered businesses and individuals who provide VPN services for cross-border use," Zhang Feng, MIIT chief engineer, said at a press conference.

Other laws and regulations, which cover every area of cyber security, including e-commerce, were also passed after the 18th National Congress of the CPC.

These laws clearly define the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in Internet activities, requiring everyone in cyberspace to act according to the law, Wang said.

Cyber security awareness

Aside from the government's leading role, experts said that cyberspace legislation also guarantees the security of all users. "Many of these regulations address cyber security, which is the greatest threat on the Internet and to society," Wang added.

"Protecting the Internet has the people's interests in mind. Cyberspace legislation helps people become more aware of cyber security, and empowers them to create a clean Internet environment," said Qin An, director of the China Institute of Cyberspace Strategy.

To enhance cyber security awareness, China will launch a major cyber security education campaign in residential communities, schools and companies, CAC deputy director Yang Xiaowei said at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

Internet service providers and users should also be aware of their roles in fighting cybercrimes. Wang told the Global Times that they are required to report illegal online behavior and speech.

The CAC released a set of regulations in September on managing online chat groups, saying that people who start WeChat groups should be responsible for them.

They must regulate the behavior of members as well as their posts in accordance with the law, user agreements and platform conventions.

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