Cyberspace Administration of China responds to foreign concerns
China's Cyber Security Law will not limit foreign companies' access to the Chinese market, the national Internet regulator said on Wednesday amid foreign companies' increasing concerns over trade barriers.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement that the law is designed to safeguard sovereignty in cyberspace, national security, public interest, as well as the rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations.
"It does not restrict foreign companies or their technology and products from entering the Chinese market, nor does it limit an orderly, free flow of data in accordance with the law," read the statement. It noted that "it is a sovereign right to make laws and rules to regulate cyberspace based on the reality of the country while following international practice."
The Cyber Security Law, which is scheduled to go into effect on Thursday, states that operators of key information infrastructure should store in China important business data and personal data they collect from their operations in the country, which has since raised overseas business organizations' concerns and even demands to delay the enforcement of the law.
A Bloomberg report said more than 50 trade associations and chambers of commerce signed a letter in May addressed to the Chinese government seeking a delay. They argued that the law could have an impact on cross-border trade, lock out foreign cloud operators, restrict competition and decrease the security of products and jeopardize the privacy of Chinese citizens.
"The law is a basic framework which will be further completed with additional details in the future, but its implementation has certainly protected the lawful rights and interests of individuals and organizations in China," said Li Yuxiao, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace.
"The law must be combined with both foreign advanced experiences and our domestic situation. It certainly takes some time for overseas companies to fully accept and understand the rules, just like any law implementation requires people's acceptance anywhere in the world," said Li.
"The implementation… lacked tangible rules for the businesses to follow and we would also expect more standards to come up for companies to understand what we need to do," said Michael Chang, vice-president of the European Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, at a press conference on Wednesday.
"Actually we have been busy engaging with the stakeholders especially the authorities to get a clear understanding about the terms and obligations we need to comply as a business organ in China," added Chang.
The law was passed in November 2016 at the bimonthly session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee after a third reading, according to the Xinhua News Agency report.
According to 2014 data from the CAC, China is a frequent victim of cyber attacks. More than 10,000 websites are tampered with every month, with about 80 percent of government websites suffering attacks, mainly originating in the U.S.