Chinese parliament ratifies law on internet security

November 7, 2016 7:50 pm

File photo shows people on computers in an internet cafe in .

Chinese authorities have ratified a law allowing state agencies to impose more restrictions on internet users.
China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), passed the cyber security bill on Monday, saying the law was an “objective need” of China as a major internet power.
The NPC’s Standing Committee has also approved the new law which is expected to take effect in June 2017.
The NPC and its Standing Committee jointly exercise the power to enact laws in China.
Officials said the law enables the government to protect China’s networks and private user information. Under the law, internet users are prohibited from publishing anything that damages “national honor”, “disturbs economic or social order” or is aimed at “overthrowing the socialist system.”
A provision of the law says companies providing online service must verify the identity of their users, which effectively makes it illegal to go online anonymously. The companies are also required to provide “technical support and help” to public security organs investigating “crimes.”
Rights groups and foreign business organizations have criticized the new law, saying it heavily restricts free speech and free flow of information. They also say the wording and language of the law remain vague, enabling overreaching security entities to take actions against lots of users for publishing simple comments and posts.
Britain-based Amnesty International criticized the law, saying the measure is a violation of rights to freedom of expression and privacy.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang has said the legislation is not different from similar laws adopted in other countries, saying it was even “more transparent” than many others.
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