BEIJING, July 1 (Greenpost) — China’s top legislature on Wednesday adopted a new national security law highlighting cyber security and demanding the establishment of a coordinated, efficient crisis management system.
Of the 155 lawmakers present at a bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, 154 voted for the legislation. One abstained.
The new law, which will be signed into force by President Xi Jinping later Wednesday, covers a wide spectrum of areas including defense, finance, science and technology, culture and religion.
Outer space activities and assets, as well as those at ocean depths and in polar regions, were also brought under the national security umbrella.
A national security review and regulatory system and relevant mechanisms would be set up to censor items that have or may have an impact on national security, including foreign investment, particular materials and key technologies, network and information technology products and services, projects involving national security, it said.
Security is a top issue in China. A National Security Commission headed by Xi was established in 2013. An overall national security outlook put forward by Xi was also incorporated in the new law.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Zheng Shuna with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee said the law was crucial in the face of “ever-growing security challenges”.
“We are under dual pressures […] Externally speaking, the country must defend its sovereignty, security and development interests, and internally speaking, it must also maintain political security and social stability,” Zheng said.
Thus, overarching legislation is needed to guide responses to national security threats and risks, she said.
Ma Huaide, vice president of China University of Political Science and Law, also said the law could provide a sound framework for future legislation on national security.
The first national security law took effect in 1993 and primarily regulated the work of national security agencies, whose major duty is counterespionage. It was renamed the Counterespionage Law in November.
The new law, meanwhile, said national security means that “the country’s state power, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity; its people’s wellbeing; its sustainable economic and social development; and other major interests are comparatively in a state of being in no danger and free of any threat from both within and without, and that the aforementioned state can be constantly guaranteed.”
Zheng rejected the notion that the definition was “too broad”.
“The definition does not cover broader areas compared with other countries,” she said.
“Any government will stand firm and ensure that there is no room for dispute, compromise or interference when it comes to protecting their core interests,” she said. “China is no exception.”
When asked to comment on the inclusion of activities and assets in space, deep sea and in polar regions in the new law, Zheng pointed to similar legislation in the United States, Japan, Russia and Europe.
China’s explorations and development in outer space, the international sea bed and polar regions have contributed to better understanding and utilization of resources, and was “conducive to the common interests of mankind,” she said, adding that China had the right to protect its activities, assets and personnel in these “new frontiers”.
One key element of the new law is a clause on cyberspace sovereignty. China will make Internet and information technology, infrastructure,information systems and data in key sectors “secure and controllable”, it read.
The country will strengthen its capability to protect cyber and information security, and enhance Internet and IT research, development and application.
Zheng said cyberspace sovereignty was the embodiment and extension of national sovereignty, adding that the Internet is an important aspect of the nation’s infrastructure.
“Internet space within the People’s Republic of China is subject to the country’s sovereignty,” she said.
China is willing to cooperate with other countries in safeguarding cyber security, building a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace, and establishing a multilateral, democratic and transparent international Internet management system, Zheng said.
The new law also vowed that an Internet and information security system would be established to ensure cyberspace security, enhance innovation, speed up development of “strategic” technology and beef up intellectual property protection and application.
A coordinated, efficient crisis management system under a centralized leadership will be set up, it said, adding that national security crises-related information must be published in a timely manner.
Chinese citizens are obliged to report anything that undermines national security, and protect national secrets in line with the Constitution and laws, it read. Enditem