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Guidelines outline progress toward law-based society

Cao Yin
Updated: Dec 09,2020 07:22 AM    China Daily

Guidelines designed to advance the development of a law-based society in the next five years were published on Dec 7 by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, putting forth guiding thoughts, primary principles and overall goals for a society based on the rule of law.

The guidelines say that by 2025, social rules and regulations will be improved and notable progress will be made in integrating core socialist values into the rule of law and social governance, while the legitimate rights and interests of people, enterprises and organizations will be safeguarded.

It also highlighted the governance of cyberspace by the rule of law, noting that the country should improve guidance as new internet technologies, including big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, are increasingly used.

Rules also are needed to regulate new businesses in the market, such as those involving livestreaming and social media.

Wang Sixin, a professor specializing in internet laws and regulations at Communication University of China in Beijing, said he is glad to see that the country will strengthen law-based governance in cyberspace, especially in internet technology applications.

"Government agencies, in fact, have taken some measures and made some rules in the past few years to maintain order in the development of new technologies. But it's not enough, and the situation needs to be adjusted in a systematic manner," he said.

"The guidelines were released at the right time and give a clear direction to government departments in governing cyberspace, telling them what work should be improved and which industries need attention next."

Li Ya, a lawyer at the Beijing Zhongwen Law Firm, said the guidelines' requirement to regulate new internet businesses will contribute to solving new types of disputes as they crop up.

"Fast-growing internet technologies not only accelerate development of new internet businesses but also result in many new problems, such as whether we can pay using digital currency and how to prevent privacy infringement while collecting personal information," he said.

Given that some new issues have created disputes, "we have to intensify our law-based governance and find solutions as soon as possible," he said.

"It's good to see in this document that our country is already moving forward with the regulation of some new internet businesses. But another issue is how to enhance online platform operators' legal awareness so they will clearly know what our rules are as they benefit from their businesses. That's what we should further study in the next five years," he added.

The guidelines also instruct government agencies to intensify the protection of children in cyberspace, strictly fight harmful online content such as pornography, violence and cults and increase punishments for people who illegally collect, reveal or sell citizens' personal information.

Additionally, promoting awareness of the Constitution, improving public health legislation and preventing violent attacks on medical workers have also been identified in the guidelines as major tasks to advance law-based governance.

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