China has studied U.S. and European Union laws in drafting its own counterterrorism bill requiring tech firms to assist security authorities to prevent and investigate terrorism, an legislative official said Sunday.
At a press conference held at the end of a week-long session of China's top legislature, Li Shouwei of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee legislative affairs commission, admitted that a number of countries and enterprises had voiced concerns about certain provisions in the law.
He pointed to Article 18 of the new law, which requires telecom operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to provide technical support and assistance, including decryption, to police and national security authorities in prevention and investigation of terrorist activities.
Li said the rule accorded with the actual work needed to fight terrorism and was basically the same as other major countries.
"The clause reflects lessons China has learned from other countries and is a result of wide solicitation of public opinion," he added.
"(It) will not affect companies' normal business nor install backdoors to infringe intellectual property rights, or ... citizens freedom of speech on the internet and their religious freedom," Li said.
The law also stipulates that telecom operators and ISPs should prevent dissemination of information on terrorism and extremism.
On discovering such information, transmission should be immediately terminated, relevant records should be saved, such information should be deleted and all information should be reported to public security organs, according to the Article 19 of the law.
For transnational transmission of terrorist and extremist information through Internet, the telecom administrators must stop the transmissions by taking technical measures.
The telecom operators and ISPs, which fail in the duties stipulated in Article 18 and 19 may be fined 200,000 yuan (about 30,900 U.S. dollars) to 500,000 yuan or over 500,000 yuan, according to the severity of the situation. In serious circumstance, the immediate responsible persons may be held in detention by police authorities for five days to 15 days.