July 17 (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping said China must build a “solid” security barrier around its internet under the supervision of the ruling Communist Party, in his latest call to safeguard online data and information.
China must persist in managing, operating and ensuring access to the internet in accordance with the law, Xi said in instructions delivered to officials attending a two-day cybersecurity meeting in Beijing that ended on Saturday.
“We must adhere to the Party’s management of the internet and adhere to (the principle of) making the internet work for the people,” state-run Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying.
In the past decade, Xi has made preserving security a priority, with his concept of security covering everything from politics and the economy to the environment and cyberspace.
In 2015, China passed a national security law with a broader scope to include its cyberspace. A year later, a law was passed that contained requirements for security reviews and for data to be stored on servers in China.
In 2021, China rolled out regulations around so-called critical information infrastructure.
This year, lawmakers updated anti-espionage legislation to ban the transfer of information related to national security and broaden the definition of spying.
Navigating China’s dense network of rules and laws on online data and information is not without risk for companies.
In April, U.S. consultancy firm Bain & Co said police visited its office in Shanghai and questioned some staff. The Financial Times, citing people briefed on the surprise visit, reported that the police also took away computers and phones.
Last year, regulators told China’s biggest financial data provider Wind Information Co to stop providing offshore users with certain data, sources told Reuters at the time.
In 2021, authorities launched a cybersecurity investigation into ride-hailing giant Didi Global two days after it went public in the United States.