[JURIST] China’s top legislature, the NPC Standing Committee [official website], on Wednesday adopted a controversial new National Security Law that increases cyber security powers and provides the possibility of establishing efficient crisis management systems. At its bi-monthly session, 155 members of the committee voted on the measure. The law will increase overseeing of the internet in China and authorities will now take tougher measures against cyber attacks, thefts and the spread of harmful information. The law is one of [LA Times report] three adopted in recent months to improve China’s security and “strengthen ideological control over the public.” The law also includes [China Daily report] a cyberspace “sovereignty” clause, which covers space, the deep sea and the polar regions. Zhang Dejiang [China Daily profile], chairman of the NPC, stated that the law is extremely important to increasing security problems with China and that the country must maintain both its political security as well as its social security.
The Chinese government has been accused of extreme action in order to eliminate perceived threats against its administration. In the past year the government has executed eight people for terrorism and separatist related crimes, as well as sentencing [JURIST reports] 12 to death for attacks on police and government offices. In January Human Rights Watch criticized [JURIST report] China’s proposed new counterterrorism legislation as a “recipe for abuses.” The Chinese government maintains that their draft law conforms to UN resolutions and that it allows for human rights to be “respected and guaranteed.” In early November China’s Congress passed [JURIST report] a counter-espionage law in order to increase national security. The regulations against NGO’s in the current proposed legislation were preceded by a proposal [JURIST report] made in late December that would require registration by the organizations in order to continue operations in China.