DigiChina Digest – February 2019

Blog Post
Feb. 22, 2019

The DigiChina Digest includes exclusive new content and news tracking from Chinese-language sources on digital policy in China, as well as the latest from our collaborative translation and analysis work. The Digest is produced in partnership with our colleagues at the Leiden Asia Centre. This edition was compiled by Katharin Tai, Alessandra Jonkhout, and Graham Webster.

Please encourage anyone interested to subscribe at DigiChina's main page.


Chinese door with symbolic guardian dragons

In launching a new effort to chart Chinese data governance, DigiChina published series of key resources and analysis:

The Evolution of China's Data Governance Regime: A Timeline

Based on a comprehensive analysis of laws, regulations, standards, and government plans, we offer an interactive timeline of key developments in data governance, both for security and for privacy. [View the timeline]

Translation: Personal Information Security Specification

China's most important privacy and personal data instrument went into effect the same month as Europe's General Data Protection Regulation, last May. DigiChina offers a full translation and a summary of already proposed changes to the Specification. [Read the translation]

China's Privacy Conundrum

Fellow Samm Sacks and DigiChina contributor Lorand Laskai of the Council on Foreign Relations take stock of Chinese citizen and government views on privacy practices by the country's internet giants, even as privacy from the state is starkly limited. [Read at Slate]

Shanghai, China - Pudong in the clouds.

What China’s 2018 Internet Governance Tells Us About What’s Next​

Twenty eighteen was an active year in Chinese digital policy, with significant new developments surrounding the 2017 Cybersecurity Law and in new areas. With an eye to what's coming in 2019, Mingli Shi outlined developments in personal information protection, online content restrictions, and regulation of internet-related products and services. [Read more]

AI Security System Framework from Chinese CAICT White Paper

Translation: A Key Chinese Think Tank's 'AI Security White Paper'

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology think tank CAICT, which DigiChina has previously profiled, offers a framework for understanding security and safety risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. We translate the framework and the authors' prescriptions to ensure AI security. [Read the translation]

Related: Online Symposium: Chinese Thinking on AI Security in Comparative Context

To better understand the context of CAICT's thinking on AI security, DigiChina turned to its community of contributors, fellows of the New America Cybersecurity Initiative, and colleagues at other institutions. For our first "online symposium," eight experts shared their analysis of this Chinese framework in the context of other international AI and technology policy discussions. [Read expert views on Chinese AI security thinking]


China's 5G Efforts March On as Huawei Scrutinized Around the World

At a time when the U.S. government was urging allies to ban hardware made by the telecommunications equipment giant Huawei from fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks, China's own efforts to roll out 5G made several public splashes:

  • Following the Spring Festival holiday marking the lunar new year, China Youth Daily reported that construction of an indoor 5G network began at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station. China Mobile and Huawei reportedly teamed up for the deployment.
  • Meanwhile, China Media Group, China Mobile, and Huawei reportedly tested 5G technology to transmit 4K video between performance spaces in Beijing and Shenzhen during the annual Spring Festival Gala TV extravaganza.
  • ZTE, another major Chinese IT equipment company long the subject of U.S. government scrutiny, is to announce a 5G-capable mobile phone at the World Mobile Congress next week in Barcelona.
  • The Beijing municipal government's Economics and Informatization Bureau released the "Beijing 5G Industry Development Action Plan (2019–2022)," targeting more than RMB 30 billion ($4.5 billion) in 5G investment by 2022.

Survey of China's 'White Hat' Hackers Paints Youthful, Well-Rested Portrait

According to a survey of almost 2,000 white hat hackers (to be taken with a grain of salt, as with most survey research in China), more than half say they try to sleep before midnight, with only 14% staying up past 2 a.m. The young respondents, more than half of whom were born 1995 or after, were more than 95% male. The survey, published by the cybersecurity firm Qihoo 360's Butian platform, also asked white hats whether their families understood their work: 43% said they had partial or good understanding; 42% said they have no view or didn't express one; and 15% said family members had low or minimal understanding.

About DigiChina

The DigiChina project is a collaborative effort to understand China’s digital policy developments, primarily through translating and analyzing Chinese-language sources. DigiChina is supported through a partnership with the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative of the MIT Media Lab and Harvard's Berkman Klein Center.

About New America

New America is dedicated to renewing America by continuing the quest to realize our nation's highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create.