16 July 2021

China's New Data Security Law and Cyber Sovereignty

What is China's new vision for regulating cyberspace? What does its new Data Security Law intend to do? Is China's Personal Information Protection Law comparable to Europe’s GDPR? What are the ramifications of China's plan to become a major global cyberpower in other parts of the world? In a conversation with Joanne Kuai, a visiting PhD Candidate at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Rogier Creemers, an Assistant Professor in Modern Chinese Studies at Leiden University, discusses China's latest laws and policies in the digital space and China's plans to become a global AI leader.

Creemers says China’s new Data Security Law is innovative and unique as it potentially covers every piece of data in the country. He explains that personal information protection in China's legal context concerns more about confidentiality rather than privacy. He observes how China's regulations targeting tech platforms share significant similarities with the ones in the EU. As China and Europe come to a convergence in terms of what is happening in the digital space, a previous notorious term, "cyber sovereignty", is gaining popularity.

Rogier Creemers has a background in Sinology and a PhD in Law. His research focuses on Chinese domestic digital technology policy, as well as China's growing importance in global digital affairs. He is the principal investigator of the NWO Vidi Project "The Smart State: Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the Law in China". For the Leiden Asia Centre, he directs a project on China and global cybersecurity, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is also a co-founder of DigiChina, a joint initiative with Stanford University and New America.