Plan asks countries to encourage companies to abide by the laws of where they operate
China has not and will not ask its companies to transfer data overseas to the Chinese government in breach of other countries' laws, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday, calling for countries to uphold multilateralism to tackle data security issues.
China has clear legal provisions for protecting data security and personal information, and its government has strictly complied with data security principles, Wang said at the International Seminar on Global Digital Governance in Beijing.
He said "extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits" are the right path to tackling the deficit in global digital governance.
Rules on global data security should be formulated on the basis of the universal participation of all parties, and the rules should reflect the wishes of all countries and respect the interests of all parties, Wang said.
Emphasizing that data security protection should be based on facts and law, Wang criticized "politicization of security issues, double standards and slandering others", saying such activities will seriously disrupt global digital development.
He criticized certain countries engaged in unilateralism, blaming other countries with groundless accusations in the name of a "clean "network and conducting global hunts against other countries' leading enterprises by using security as an excuse.
"This is sheer bullying and should be opposed and abandoned," Wang added.
Wang said protecting data security is very important for the healthy development of the digital economy, and all countries have the right to protect their own data security in accordance with the law.
"At the same time, all enterprises should be offered an open, fair and nondiscriminatory business environment," Wang said, adding that protectionism in the digital industry runs counter to globalization and undermines equal access to digital services.
In his address to the seminar, Wang proposed a Global Initiative on Data Security, encouraged the participation and support of countries and international organizations and called for "good ideas and suggestions from all sides".
In this initiative, China calls upon various parties to treat data security objectively and reasonably and opposes sabotaging the critical infrastructure of other countries or stealing important data using information technology.
The initiative asks the countries to encourage companies to abide by the laws and regulations of where they operate. And it says countries should not request domestic companies to store data generated and obtained overseas in their own territory.
Lu Chuanying, a cybersecurity and digital economy researcher at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said the initiative was timely and shows China's will to promote the establishment of international rules on digital governance and its opposition to hegemony.
Without such rules, unilateral practices, such as imposing sanctions on companies will risk reversing globalization by deterring companies from doing business overseas, Lu said.
Also, countries tend to go their own way in dealing with data security issues when there is a lack of international rules, and the behavior by some may "undermine the development of the global economy" and "intensify the fragmentation of cyberspace", Lu said.