On 4 February 2017, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued a draft of the Network Products and Services Security Review Measures for public comment: the Draft Measures remain open for comments until 4 March 2017. The Draft Measures are follow-on legislation to China’s Cyber Security Law adopted on 7 November 2016, which will take effect from 1 June 2017.
China’s Cyber Security Law, which will take effect from 1 June, 2017 was adopted on 7 November. The third draft of the law adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s highest legislative authority, contained few changes from the second draft put forward for comment in July, 2016. The net result is continued controversy coupled with a dose of uncertainty (never a good combination), with multi-national businesses in particular questioning the intent of the law and criticising its vagueness. The final draft contains a number of broadly-framed defined terms that are critical to its interpretation which continue to leave much to be resolved through detailed measures that may or may not follow, as a lack of clarity leaves room for interpretation. All in all, the direction of travel is towards a much more heavily regulated Chinese internet and technology sector, with an open question as to whether China’s cyber space will be integrated with the rest of the world in the coming years or will plough its own virtual furrow.