China approves controversial cybersecurity law

The Chinese government on Nov. 7 approved a controversial cybersecurity law that the government says will protect Internet users and minimize fraud—over the protests of international human rights organizations. Calling the law "draconian," Human Rights Watch says it bolsters censorship measures and requires companies to monitor and report vague "network security incidents" and store personal information on users. On the business front, James Zimmerman, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, called the law a "step backwards." Many believe it will make it harder for foreign business to operate within China, as the law also requires that companies "demonstrate" that they can withstand hacks and are open to more government scrutiny.

The Chinese government has been criticized for passing national security measures that tighten its control of civil society. Earlier this year, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CACannounced  that search companies must abide by new Internet regulations. The CAC stated that search companies must produce results in line with national interests and must clearly distinguish normal results from paid ads which may display illegal and misleading information. Search companies are also required to properly report illegal content which may threaten national security or negatively impact "public judgment."

From Jurist, Nov. 7. Used with permission.

Note: The cybersecurity law follows similarly controversial anti-terrorism legislation, and comes amid a crackdown on rights lawyers.