Measure tells the world China has the right to deal with its own network, expert says
A draft law on China's Internet security posted on the nation's top legislature website has sparked heated discussions at home and around the world.
In particular, foreign businesses have expressed concern that their access to the Chinese online market may be restricted if Internet security laws are changed.
There has also been a negative response to regions being given the power to shut down the Internet in the event of a security breach, as outlined in the draft law.
The draft was uploaded on the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress website on July 1 to gather public opinion before the law is debated by the NPC next month.
Chinese Internet specialists said some measures in the draft are essential to protect State security.
Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University, said the controversy the draft law has aroused is not a bad thing. "It means the world has paid attention to the draft and wants to see measures we will take in cyberspace," Shen said.
"The draft also tells the world that we have the right to deal with our own Internet."
A similar security review was undertaken several years ago in the United States, "and what we are doing is to learn from the US," Shen said.
Some foreign enterprises have expressed their concerns on whether they will have access to the Chinese market, and some think the review may damage their interests, "but such concerns are not necessary", said Zuo Xiaodong, vice-president of the China Information Security Research Institute, a government think tank.
"The move is to protect our national security, and it is not an action that is only taken in China," he said.
"What we want is to make sure the online products or services our residents use are safe, and will contribute to our cyber development," he said.
Both specialists said that the idea of an Internet shutdown in case of a security breach would not mean that the government can cut off the Internet.
"The move is to prevent more residents being damaged in a mass disturbance or malicious online incidents," Zuo said.
In addition, the draft notes that a regional government must submit any proposed closure of the Internet to the State Council, "which means such a move is not done randomly", Shen said.