World

China proposes to further tighten Internet control

BEIJING: China is proposing a further tightening of controls over the Internet with the possible establishment of a new commission to vet Internet services and hardware, Beijing's Internet regulator said.

China, which has blocked foreign websites that it deems harmful - Facebook and Google - adopted a controversial cyber security law in November to counter what Beijing says are growing threats, such as hacking and terrorism.

Overseas critics of the law say it threatens to shut foreign technology companies out of various sectors and includes contentious requirements for security reviews and for data to be stored on servers in China.

New draft rules, released by China's Internet regulator over the weekend, propose setting up a body to examine and coordinate policies nationwide.

The commission will consider risks to national security and stop the Communist Party and government departments from buying online products and services that have not been approved.

It is not clear if, or when, the new body will be set up. The proposed rules are open for public comment until March 4.

Draft proposals are often changed when they are passed into law in China.

The proposed new commission and the adoption of the cyber security law come amid a crackdown by President Xi Jinping on civil society, including rights lawyers and the media, which critics say is meant to quash dissent. - REUTERS

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