(Bloomberg News) -- China intends to build a national cyber safety net as part of a sweeping security bill being considered by the country’s top lawmaking body.
The provision on “cyber sovereignty” was added to the second draft of the security law, which also stressed the need to safeguard the security of “industries and key areas important to the national economy,” according to a text of the document posted Wednesday on the website of the National People’s Congress. The new proposal, which was reviewed last month by the body’s Standing Committee, also adds language about protecting the country from risks to the financial system.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seeking to shore up security as the Communist Party faces an increasingly complex series of challenges at home and abroad. The National People’s Congress in December began deliberating a new national security law to replace one from 1993 that was more narrowly focused on preventing spying.
The bill includes economic, financial, food, culture, environment, and energy matters into the realm of national security and emphasizes the importance of upholding Communist Party rule. The latest draft stresses the need for “cultural security” and improving socialist education to prevent the “infiltration of unhealthy culture.”
The language conflicts with efforts to create a multicultural society, said Zhan Zhongle, a law professor at Peking University. “Cultural security should not be a legal term, because it contradicts cultural integration which is a universally accepted idea,” Zhan said.
The proposal has been released for public consideration until June 5.
The new passages on cybersecurity fit with a broad national strategy, reported by Bloomberg News in December, to purge most foreign technology from banks, state-owned enterprises and the military by 2020. Chinese regulators suspendedthe implementation of the guidelines for banks, a person familiar with the matter said last month, after trade groups from Europe, Japan and the U.S. protested.
The proposal also for the first time highlighted the responsibilities of Chinese territories such as Hong Kong and Macau in ensuring national security. “Safeguarding China’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity is the joint obligation of all Chinese people including the ones in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan,” it said.
The addition comes after the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year that closed off key business districts for more than two months.
“The draft law makes a specific point of Hong Kong because what happened last year has caused concern among the leadership,” Zhan said.
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