European companies have expressed concerns over China’s data laws, citing lack of clarity and lengthy processes that companies must go through. China recently expanded its counter-espionage law, which prohibits the transfer of any information related to security and national interests, without clearly defining these terms. The law also broadens the definition of espionage to include cyber-attacks against state organs or critical infrastructure. This increasing focus on national security by Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves foreign companies uncertain about where they could unintentionally violate the law.
Vera Jourova, Vice President of the European Commission, highlighted the lack of definitions in the law, such as what qualifies as important data, and the lack of clarity on how the law could be violated. Jourova also mentioned the lengthy procedural processes, which can take up to 45 days or more to complete. In response, the EU plans to propose the creation of an information hub to assist EU companies in understanding the law and ensuring compliance.
China has been identified as a systemic partner, competitor, and rival in the digital arena. Jourova emphasized the need for open communication channels between China and Europe, even in cases of disagreement. It is crucial to maintain these channels for dialogue and cooperation.
In late July, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce held a briefing for representatives from various chambers of commerce and foreign companies, providing information on the new counter-espionage law. The ministry stated that China is committed to creating a fair, transparent, and predictable business environment.
It is important for EU companies operating in China to stay informed about data laws and ensure compliance to avoid potential legal issues. The proposed information hub aims to address the concerns raised by EU companies and provide them with the necessary guidance to effectively navigate China’s data regulatory landscape.
– Counter-espionage law: legislation aimed at preventing and combating espionage activities, typically through defining and restricting the transfer of sensitive information.
– National security: the protection of a nation’s sovereignty, people, territory, and interests from internal and external threats.
– Cyber-attacks: deliberate acts to disrupt, disable, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems or networks.
– Compliance: adhering to and following the requirements, regulations, and standards established by government entities or organizations.
– Reuters: BEIJING, September 19 (Reuters) – European Union companies are concerned about China’s data laws, including its “lack of clarity” and “lengthy processes” that companies must go through, said Vice President of the European Commission Vera Jourova on Tuesday.
– Image by Andre Benz on Unsplash.