China issues white paper on law-based cyberspace governance

China's State Council Information Office releases a white paper titled "China's Law-Based Cyberspace Governance in the New Era" in Beijing, China, on March 16, 2023. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

BEIJING – China's State Council Information Office on Thursday released a white paper titled "China's Law-Based Cyberspace Governance in the New Era".

The white paper focuses on upholding the rule of law in cyberspace, consolidating the legal system for cyberspace governance, keeping order in a rule-based cyberspace, defending fairness and justice in cyberspace, promoting public awareness and competence in law-based cyberspace governance, and increasing international exchanges and cooperation in law-based cyberspace governance.

In the new era, China has made law-based cyberspace governance an essential part of the overall strategy of the rule of law and the drive to build up its strength in cyberspace, read the white paper.

Marked improvements have been made in ensuring law-based cyberspace governance, said the white paper, adding that China has boosted cyberspace governance by developing a complete system of laws and regulations, a highly efficient enforcement system, a stringent supervision system, and an effective supporting system.

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With stronger domestic capacity in law-based internet governance, China has contributed ideas and solutions to global internet governance, it said.

China stands ready to partner with all other countries to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace and create a better world.

China's Law-Based Cyberspace Governance in the New Era

On the new journey toward becoming a modern socialist country, China will always be committed to all-around law-based governance of the country and of cyberspace, the white paper noted.

According to the white paper, China will promote the lawful, orderly and healthy development of the internet, safeguard the high-quality development of a digital China under the rule of law, and provide a solid legal guarantee for building up China's strength in cyberspace.

The rule of law in cyberspace is an important tool of digital governance and a marker of digital progress, the white paper read.

Facing the opportunities and challenges brought about by digitalization, China will follow the global governance principle of achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration, and work together with the international community to ensure that global cyberspace governance is law-based and that digital progress will deliver greater benefits to the people, said the white paper.

"China stands ready to partner with all other countries to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace and create a better world," it added. 

Cyber legislation framework 

China has formed a cyber legislation framework with the Constitution as the foundation, supported by laws, administrative regulations, departmental rules, local regulations and local administrative rules, according to the white paper.

The framework is endorsed by traditional legislation, and underpinned by specialized cyber laws governing online content and management, cybersecurity, information technology and other elements, read the white paper.

This system of laws on cyberspace governance provides a strong institutional guarantee for building up China's strength in cyberspace, the paper noted.

China has advanced the legal system for cyberspace governance through legislation that is enacted in a well-conceived and democratic way and in accordance with the law, it noted.

Cyber legislation is now gradually focusing on comprehensive cyberspace governance by covering areas such as network information services, information technology development, and cybersecurity, said the white paper.

New models of cyber justice

China has been actively exploring new channels, domains and models for further integrating internet technology with judicial activities, according to the white paper.

China has been pushing for the application of latest technologies such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain in judicial proceedings, judgment enforcement, judicial administration, and other fields, read the document.

It added that local courts are encouraged to explore new mechanisms with regional features for internet-empowered adjudication, on the basis of the development of local internet industry and the characteristics of local cyber disputes.

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China has empowered legal oversight with big data. It has systematically integrated a wide range of case information, worked on models and platforms for big data-based legal oversight, and implemented oversight of the prosecution of individual cases and of similar cases in order to address the common problems they raise, thus improving the quality and efficiency of legal oversight, said the white paper.

"These new models of cyber justice mark the further development of the socialist judicial system with Chinese characteristics in cyberspace," said the document.

It added that internet courts represent a success in creating new judicial models, citing the internet courts established in Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou.

These courts focus on 11 types of internet-related disputes in the cities under their jurisdiction, including those involving online loan contracts, online infringement, and online copyright, said the white paper.

Protecting personal information

Chinese authorities have inspected 3.22 million mobile applications since 2019 to protect personal information, issuing notices of criticism to or removing about 3,000 applications that violated laws and regulations, according to the white paper.

Through targeted actions, violations of personal information rights have been effectively curbed, as many more applications are now conforming to relevant regulations and the public has also built a strong awareness of personal data protection, it added.

Targeting covert, high-frequency personal information infringements with high-tech means, China has adopted new thinking and methods of supervision and taken tougher action against illegal activities, said the white paper.