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What is China’s Cybersecurity Law

Published September 30, 2020 / Updated December 13, 2023

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The world is realizing the importance of the need for data protection. More and more countries are drafting comprehensive legal frameworks that protect individuals' data online. We see this in countries such as the USA with CCPA and in the EU with GDPR . In June 2017, China followed suit and drafted its own Cybersecurity Law to safeguard the data rights of consumers in China. The law is formulated to offer the following benefits:

  • Providing guidelines on cybersecurity requirements for safeguarding Chinese cyberspace;
  • Protecting the legal interests and rights of organizations and individuals in China;
  • Promoting the secure development of technology and the digitization of the economy in China

Let's look further into this privacy regulation.

what is china cybersecurity law

Rights under China Cybersecurity Law

The Cybersecurity Law provides data subjects/consumers (users) with the following rights :

What is CCPA

Right to information

Prior to the collection or processing of personal information by data controllers (network operators), users shall have the right to know the purpose of collection or processing, the methods used, and the scope of their personal information.

Right to deletion

Users have the right to request deletion of their personal information if they discover that the network operators collection or processing is in violation of compliance requirements.
What is CCPA

Right to rectification

Users have the right to request that network operators rectify incorrect personal information.

Right to be notified

Users have the right to be notified by the network operator if their information is tampered with, disclosed, destroyed, or lost.

Principles for Processing

The following are the major principles of processing personal information under the China Cybersecurity law:

Purpose limitation

Network operators must inform consumers of the purpose(s) of collecting or using their personal data. Processing of personal information by network operators shall not exceed the purposes for which it was directly or reasonably collected. If further processing is required, network operators must obtain further explicit consent from the individual.


Network operators must publish rules for collecting and using the consumer’s personal information. Network operators must also inform consumers of the purpose(s) and scopes for which the personal information is collected or used. Consumers must also be notified of the methods in which the personal information is collected or used.


Consent must be obtained from individuals prior to the collection or use of their personal information.


The collection, use or processing of personal information shall not violate the administrative regulations or the agreement made with the users.

Data minimization

Network operators shall comply with the principle of "necessity" when collecting and processing a user’s personal information. This means they shall not collect personal information irrelevant to the service they provide to the individual.

Integrity and confidentiality

Network operators must safeguard the personal information using technical measures, including protection against leaks, destruction, or damage. Personal data can not be given to other parties without the consent of the individual or in case of a statutory requirement.

Storage limitation

Personal information shall be stored only for the minimum period required for realizing the purpose(s) for which it was collected, after which it shall be properly disposed of by deletion or anonymization.

Who Needs to comply?

Under Article 2, the law applies to networks established, operated, maintained and used within the territory of the People’s Republic of China as well as to the supervision and management practices concerning network security. This includes public and private entities. Under the law, it is not stated that there is any extraterritorial scope, although, in an associated regulation, Measures for Security Assessment of Cross-border Transfer of Personal Data, overseas entities which collect personal data within China's territory must appoint a legal representative or organization that fulfills the responsibilities and obligations of network operators defined in the law.

It is still unclear on how this clause will be enforced, given the ambiguity in the new Cybersecurity law of China. But it is similar to how the GDPR applies extraterritorially.

Cybersecurity requirements

The Cybersecurity Law imposes several important cybersecurity obligations on network operators, with some of the major ones being:

  • The protection of personal information, specifically protecting it from disclosure, tampering, destruction and loss.
  • Undertaking effective administrative and rational technological measures to safeguard the personal information.
  • Carrying out continuous security maintenance and repairing any security flaws as quickly as possible.
  • Formulating emergency response plans for cybersecurity incidents, following such plans if an incident occurs, and taking immediate remedial measures.
  • Following state-sanctioned multi-level protection systems [MLPS].
  • Critical information infrastructure operators, as defined by the State Council, shall evaluate their cybersecurity measures once every year and shall endeavor to take greater protections and safeguards.

Cross-border transfer

Critical information infrastructure operators must ensure that personal information of customers is stored within Mainland China. If it must be transferred outside the mainland due to business necessity, the network operator must conduct a security assessment in accordance with the measures jointly defined by China’s cyberspace administration bodies and the relevant departments under the State Council.

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Automating Compliance

Given the expanded definition of the term ‘personal information’ and the tight time frame provided to businesses to respond to privacy disclosure, access and deletion requests, and other requirements, complying with the China Cybersecurity law can be very labor intensive and costly.’s award-winning solution revolves around the concept of PrivacyOps, which utilizes robotic automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate compliance tasks, freeing up crucial resources for other areas of business. helps businesses discover data over a wide range of internal and external systems, build a People Data Graph to link personal data to each individual, automate data subject requests, assessments, consent management and more.

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Penalties under China Cybersecurity Law

China Cybersecurity law imposes a number of penalties on network operators based on violation. These violators are given warnings and orders to rectification. Repeat offenses can result in the following:

Fines between 0.1 million RMB to 1 million RMB for the network operator (or ten times any illegal income earned through the illegal practice)
Personal fines for responsible officers of the network operator
Confiscation of business income from illegal practices
Restriction of business activities
Closure of website
Cancellation of business license

Violators can even be charged with criminal penalties based on the seriousness of non-compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the new law for cybersecurity in China?

China has implemented several cybersecurity laws, including the Cybersecurity Law of the People's Republic of China. It outlines regulations regarding data protection, cybersecurity practices, and the responsibilities of organizations operating in China.

What are the cybersecurity laws in China?

China's cybersecurity laws include the Cybersecurity Law, which governs various aspects of cybersecurity, data protection, and the obligations of organizations to ensure the security of networks and data within China's territory.

What is Article 37 of China's cybersecurity law?

Article 37 of China's Cybersecurity Law pertains to the obligation of critical information infrastructure operators to conduct a security assessment when purchasing network products and services that could impact national security.

What is the data protection law in China?

China passed a comprehensive data protection law that is considered to be at par with other major global data privacy laws, such as the GDPR and CCPA. The Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) was adopted on 20 August 2021 and enacted on 1 November 2021.

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