When China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress (“NPC”), enacted the Cybersecurity Law (“CSL”) in 2017, it set into motion a new era of data governance in China. Three years later, in 2020, the NPC followed up this landmark act with two other legislative milestones in this space: the draft Data Security Law (“DSL”) (see our blogpost here) and draft Personal Information Protection Law (“PIPL”) (see our client alert here). Both the PIPL and DSL will be finalized this year. Taken as a whole, these three laws form an over-arching framework that will govern data protection and cybersecurity in China for years to come.
While the DSL and PIPL have remained in draft form over the past year, the Chinese government has not stood idly by – instead, various Chinese regulators have continued to introduce data- and cyber-related rules in key sectors. Many of these sectoral rules do not appear to be primarily focused on data protection or cybersecurity, yet they may indirectly impact the collection, use and processing of personal information in specific sectors. The rollout of these new rules has not been fully coordinated, and the approaches taken in some cases deviate from the over-arching framework mentioned above. We expect this divergence to remain, even after the finalization of the PIPL and DSL. Consequently, China’s data and cyber regime will likely present a complex web of regulatory rules for organizations to navigate – both now and in the years ahead.
In this blog series, we examine several recently-introduced data and cyber rules in the areas of e-commerce, finance, healthcare, and artificial intelligence – all of which are rapidly expanding sectors in China where the collection and use of massive amounts of personal information have given rise to a variety of regulatory concerns. We will also explain, in the last blogpost of this series, China’s recent push to regulate how mobile applications can collect and process user data.
In our first blogpost of this series, we focus on recent developments in China’s e-commerce sector.