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.
On April 28, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, issued draft amendments to the 1993 Law of Consumer Rights and Interests highlighting China’s new initiative to address longstanding issues related to e-commerce fraud and illegal disclosures of consumer information. The draft amendments, which were open for public comment until May 31, 2013, aim to reform China’s 20-year-old consumer protection law, with almost half of the clauses in the current law being amended to cover e-commerce.