Organizations and inpiduals handling personal information should
fully inform its owners and get their permission before collecting,
storing or using it, according to a draft law being deliberated by
It is the first time that the draft law on personal information
protection has been submitted for review to the bimonthly session of the
National People's Congress Standing Committee, the country's top
If the aims, means of collection or categories of personal
information change, those handling it should get renewed permission from
its owners, who also have the right to withdraw their permission,
according to the draft law.
By the end of March, China had 900 million internet users, with over 4
million websites and some 3 million apps, "meaning personal information
has been widely collected and used", Liu Junchen, deputy director of
the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission, said on
"Although we have intensified protection of personal information in
rep years, a few enterprises, institutions and inpiduals are still
collecting, illegally purchasing, overusing or misusing personal
information for profit," he told lawmakers, adding that this was
disturbing people's daily lives.
Liu hailed previous legislative efforts to safeguard personal
information, such as the enactment of the Cybersecurity Law and the
E-Commerce Law and amendments to the Criminal Law and the Law on the
Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, but said it was "difficult
to keep up with the rapid development of information and people's
increasing demands for better lives".
He said special legislation was needed to respond to public concerns
and the scattered coverage of personal information protection in various
laws, highlighting its role in maintaining a good online environment
and boosting healthy growth of the digital economy.
Given the major role big data has played in preventing the spread of
COVID-19 and helping businesses recover from the effects of the
pandemic, Liu said, "the draft allows the handling of personal
information to face public health incidents and protect people's health
and life in emergencies".
The draft also says sensitive personal information, such as that
related to ethnicity, religion, biological features, financial accounts
and whereabouts, needs to be handled more strictly.
Organizations and inpiduals that handle personal information
overseas but aim to provide products or services for users on the
Chinese mainland, or analyze or evaluate the behavior of its residents,
will also need to follow the requirements of the draft law and establish
special institutions or have representatives responsible to protect the