China’s draft online security law could tighten state control of netizens

(From Radio Free Asia)

A draft cybersecurity law published by the National People’s Congress (NPC) looks set to formalize and extend Beijing’s already tight grip on the Chinese Internet, although official media denied it would curb people’s online freedom.

The draft law aims to “ensure network security, [and] safeguard the sovereignty of cyberspace and national security,” according to the NPC’s official website, and will ensure Chinese Internet users aren’t allowed to “disturb the social order, [and] harm the public interest.

While this may refer to a further tightening of the existing set of blocks, filters and human censorship known collectively as the Great Firewall, officials say they are also setting out to protect Chinese infrastructure from cyberattacks, and to protect the privacy of citizens’ data.

Chinese Internet cafe

Chinese Internet cafe

“The 68-article draft cyber security law, which was discussed by lawmakers for the first time late last month, is designed to protect the public, not to undermine their freedom, as Western media claimed,” the state news agency Xinhua quoted NPC delegates as saying.

The draft law also formalizes measures allowing the authorities to cut off Internet access in parts of China in response to major social unrest, as occurred in the wake of the deadly 2009 ethnic riots in the Xinjiang regional capital, Urumqi. Read more



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