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China – New legislation on the publication of online news and cyber-security/data protection comes into effect

July 17, 2017

Important new legislation came into effect in China on 1 June 2017 on two important issues.

The first issue concerns the publication of online news. The new legislation will bring online news providers into line with traditional news media operating in China.

All news publishing entities both traditional and online will now need a government licence and senior editors must receive state approval.

The list of online news publishers covered by the legislation includes websites, applications, forums, written and video blogging, microblogs, public accounts, instant messaging tools and internet broadcasts both recorded and live.

Chinese traditional and online media outlets will not be allowed to enter into joint ventures with foreign partners, or accept foreign funding, until they have a passed a security assessment carried out by the State Council Information Office.

The second piece of legislation to take effect concerns cyber-security and data protection.

According to the new legislation, data on Chinese citizens including personal information and salary details must be maintained within China’s borders. The transmission of economic, scientific or technological data overseas is also prohibited unless authorised by the State.

The new rules apply to all network operators including social media companies and internet service providers and will necessitate users permission before transferring data concerning them outside of China.

The legislation which is protective of Chinese citizens personal data may also make it more difficult for foreign businesses to trade in China.

Non-compliance with the new rules could result in a permanently revoked business licence.

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