China wants cyber 'sovereignty' in latest national security law

China has injected cybersecurity regulations into the most recent draft of a national security law, Beijing’s newest attempt to control its cyberspace through domestic law.

The National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, is considering a cyberspace sovereignty clause in the law, which would grant authorities vague jurisdiction over the country’s information technology, according to multiple reports.


“The state establishes national Internet and information security safeguard systems ... and protects national Internet space sovereignty, security and development interests," the draft said, Reuters reported.

China must “achieve security and control in Internet and information core technology, key infrastructure, and important data and information systems,” it added.

Chinese officials have moved swiftly in the last year to erect legal guidelines that would give the government access to companies’ source code and encryption methods.

It’s part of a long-standing effort to restrict the flow of digital information at home, and diminish reliance on foreign technology.

Beijing cites the flood of cyberattacks the country fends off as the reasoning behind the campaign.

The Communist Party of China is already advancing a counterterrorism law that would require many companies operating within China and foreign firms supplying software to China to hand over source code to authorities and use Beijing-approved encryption methods.

Another slate of banking technology guidelines would also push Chinese financial firms to increase their use of domestic technology, in addition to the source code audits and encryption access requirements.

The efforts have ignited a fiery uproar from the international business community, which alleges the rules are merely protectionism meant to lock out foreign competitors. U.S., European Union and Japanese officials have also joined the chorus of dissent.

A number of top U.S. officials have traveled to China to push for alterations to pending laws. President Obama himself called Chinese leader Xi Jinping to sternly rebuke the rules.

Chinese officials have temporarily hit pause on the banking tech regulations in response, saying they will rework and revise them based on input from industry and outside governments.

The latest draft of the national security law does include a section on China’s banking infrastructure. It says the country must secure its financial system against international risks and shocks. But it was not detailed about how banks might follow that dictum.

China’s legislature has now read the national security law twice. Laws are often implemented after three readings.