Xi Jinping’s Talks at the Beijing Forum on Literature and Art

The original text of the speech has not been published. This summary was published by Xinhua on 15 October.

Xi Jinping Chairs Forum on Literature and Art Work and Stresses

Persisting in the Creative Orientation of Putting the People Central

Creating Ever More Excellent Works Living Up to the Times

Liu Yunshan in Attendance

CCP General Secretary, State President and CMCC Chairman Xi Jinping chaired the Forum on Literature and Art Work organized in Beijing on the morning of the 15th, and gave an important speech. He stressed that literature and art are the bugle call for the advance of the times, are most able to represent the spirit of an era, and are most able to guide the mood of an era. To realize the “Two Centuries” struggle objective and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the role of literature and art is irreplaceable, and there is great promise from literature and art workers. The broad literature and art workers must understand the position and role of literature and art from this height, understand the historical mission and responsibility they bear, persist in the creative orientation of putting the people central, strive to create ever more excellent works living up to the times, carry forward the Chinese spirit, concentrate Chinese strengths, and encourage the people of all ethnicities in the entire country to march toward the future full of vigour and vitality.

Standing Committee member and Central Committee General Office Secretary Liu Yunshan attended the Forum.

At the forum, China Writer’s Association Chairwoman Tie Ning, China Peking Opera Association Chairman and Shanghai Peking Opera Theatre and Art Director Shang Changrong, Kongzheng Song and Dance Ensemble First-Level Playwright Yan Su, China Association of Fine Arts Vice-Chairman and China Academy of Fine Arts Director Chang Xuhong, China Association of Dance Chairwoman and National Theatre Dance Art Chief Inspector Zhao Rusu, China Writer’s Association Vice Chairman and Shanghai Municipal Writer’s Association Vice Chairman Ye Xin, China Film Association Chairman and China Drama Academy First-Level Performer Li Xuejian gave successive addresses.

After earnestly listening to everyone’s speeches, Xi Jinping made an important speech. First, he indicated that the literature and art undertaking is an important undertaking of the Party and the people, the literature and art battlefront is an important battlefront for the Party and the people. For a long period, the broad literature and art workers have devoted themselves to literature and art creation, performance, research and dissemination, and in their respective areas, have been diligent and hardworking, served the people, obtained clear achievements, and made important contributions. Through everyone’s joint efforts, a hundred flowers are growing in our literature and art garden and there are countless great fruits, presenting a vivid picture of flourishing and development. Xi Jinping extended his sincere respects to literature and art workers nationwide.

Xi Jinping pointed out that promoting the flourishing and development of literature and art, in the end, requires the creation and production of excellent works that can live up to this great nation and these great times. Literature and art workers should firmly keep in mind that creation is their central task, work is the root of their being, they must engage in their creation with calm hearts and a spirit of improvement, and present the best spiritual nourishment to the people. The creation and production of excellent works must be made into a central link of our literature and art work, and we must strive to produce even more excellent works that disseminate the value views of present-day China, reflect the spirit of Chinese culture, mirror the aesthetic pursuits of Chinese people, which organically integrate ideology, artistry and enjoyability.

Xi Jinping stressed that, since reform and opening up, our country’s literature and art creation has welcomed a new springtime, and produced large amounts of universally appreciated excellent works. At the same time, it cannot be denied that, in the area of literature and art creation, the phenomena that there is quantity but no quality, and there are “high plateaus” but no “high peaks” exist, the problem of plagiarism, imitation and stereotypes exist, and the problems of mechanistic production and fast-food-style consumption exist. Literature and art cannot lose its direction as it is absorbed into the market economy, it cannot accept deviations on the question for whom they are, otherwise, literature and art will not have life force. Vulgarity is not popularity, passion does not represent hope, and naive sensual amusement is not equal to spiritual cheer. The reason excellent works are “excellent”, lies in their ideological profundity, artistic exquisiteness and product superiority. [Translator's note, these three adjectives all contain the character 精, "excellent"]. Literature and art workers must hold high ideals, live and create in step with the times, and innovate through the individuality of their art. We must persist in the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend, carry forward academic and artistic democracy, construct a vigorous, healthy, tranquil and harmonious atmosphere, advocate discussion between different viewpoints and schools of thought, advocate that styles, themes, forms and methods fully develop, and promote mutual praise and reflection in group discussion on ideas, content, styles and schools.

Xi Jinping pointed out that, to make literature and art creation flourish and promote literature and art innovation, we must have a large batch of distinguished literators and artists skilled in virtue and art. Our country’s writers and artists should become prophets, trailblazers, and pioneers of the spirit of the times, write and record the magnificent practice of the people and the demands for progress of the times through ever more literature and art works that have strong fibre, virtue and a warm temperature, display the beauty of faith and the beauty of the sublime. Literature and art workers must consciously persist in literature and art ideals, incessantly raise their scholarship, self-control and self-cultivation, strengthen their ideological accumulation, knowledge stores, cultural accomplishments and artistic training, earnestly and solemnly consider the social effect of their works, stress quality, place weight on artistic virtue, save righteousness for history, present beauty and virtue to the people of the world, strive to win people’s love and welcome with noble professional integrity, a fine social image, and beauty both in writing and quality.

Xi Jinping stressed that Socialist literature and art, essentially speaking, is the people’s literature and art. Literature and art must reflect well the people’s wishes; it must persist in the fundamental orientation of serving the people and serving Socialism. This is a basic requirement of the Party for the literature and art front, and is the crux that decides the future destiny of our country’s literature and art undertaking. We must make satisfying the people’s spiritual and cultural needs into a starting point and checking point for literature and art and literature and art workers, make the people into the centre of literature and art expressions, make the people into connoisseurs and critics of literature and art aesthetics, and make serving the people into the vocation of literature and art workers.

Xi Jinping pointed out that, following the incessant rise in people’s living standards, the people’s demands on quality, status and style of cultural products, including literature and art works, have risen. Literature, theatre, film, television, music, dance, fine arts, photography, calligraphy, folksong, acrobatics as well as folk literature and art, mass literature and art and other areas must follow the developments of the times, grasp the demands of the people, and create and produce excellent works that the people love to see and hear with full fervour, vivid brush strokes, graceful melodies and moving forms, to let the people’s spiritual and cultural lives incessantly climb towards new heights.

Xi Jinping stressed that the people are the sources of flowing water for literature and art creation, whenever they are removed from the people, literature and art will change into rootless duckweeds, baseless groaning, and soulless bodies. Whether or not we can produce excellent works fundamentally depends on whether or not we are able to write for the people, express emotions for the people, and express the compassion of the people. We must modestly learn from the people and learn from life, derive nutrients from the people’s magnificent practices and rich and varied lives, incessantly accumulate life and artistic experiences, incessantly discover the beautiful and create the beautiful. We must consistently keep the people’s daily lives and the people’s happiness in our hearts, pour the people’s range of emotions into our own brushstrokes, eulogize the struggling human life, portray the most beautiful characters, and persist in people’s yearning for and belief in beautiful lives.

Xi Jinping pointed out that if literature and art workers want to achieve success, they must consciously breathe together with the people, share their fate, link their hearts with the people’s hearts, fell joy for the joy of the people, suffer for the suffering of the people, and be servants of the people. They must love the people sincerely, love them profoundly, love them lastingly, and must deeply understand the rationale that the people are the creators of history, go deep among the masses, go deep into life, earnestly and sincerely be the little students of the people. Art may give wings to imagination, but it must absolutely have its feet on terra firma. There are a hundred, a thousand ways of creating art, but the most fundamental, the most crucial, and the most reliable method is taking root among the people and taking root in life. We should use realist spirits and romantic feelings to contemplate real life, use light to disperse darkness, use the beautiful and the good to vanquish the ugly and the evil, let the people see that beauty, hope and dreams are ahead.

Xi Jinping stressed that a good work should put social effect first, and at the same time should be a work that integrates social effect and economic effect. Literature and art cannot become slaves of the market, and must not be stained with the stink of money. Excellent literature and art works, at best, can gain ideological and artistic successes, and can receive a welcome on the market.

Xi Jinping pointed out that every age has a spirit of the age. Literature and art are the engineering project of casting souls, literature and art workers are engineers of the souls. Good literature and art work should be like sunlight in a blue sky, like a cool spring breeze, they should be able to enlighten thoughts, caress spirits and mould people’s lives, they should be able to clear away the wind of despair. The broad literature and art workers must carry forward the banner of the Socialist core value system, reflect the Socialist core value system in their literature and art creation vividly, vigorously and in a lifelike manner, use true-to-life images to tell people what they should affirm and praise, and what they must oppose and deny, ensure that the salutary effect of education, like a spring breeze, noiselessly touches all. We must make patriotism into the main melody of literature and art creation, guide the people to establish and uphold correct views of history, views of the nation, views of the country and views of culture, and strengthen their fortitude and resolve to be Chinese.

Xi Jinping stressed that pursuing the true, the good and the beautiful is the eternal value of literature and art. The highest boundary of literature and art is moving people, letting the spirits of people experience baptisms, letting the people discover the beauty of nature, the beauty of life and the beauty of the spirit. We must, through literature and art works, spread the true, the good and the beautiful, spread upward and charitable value views, guide the people in strengthening their powers of moral judgment and their sense of moral honour, yearn for and pursue a life of stressing morals, respecting morals and abiding morals. As long as the Chinese nation pursues the moral plane of the true, the good and the beautiful generation by generation, our nation will be eternally healthy and upward, and will for always be full of hope.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China’s excellent traditional culture is the spiritual lifeline of the Chinese nation, is an important source nourishing the Socialist core value system, and is a firm basis for us to get a firm foothold within the global cultural surge. We must integrate the conditions of new times with inheriting and carrying forward China’s excellent traditional culture, and inheriting and carrying forward a Chinese aesthetic spirit. For our Socialist literature and art to flourish and develop, we must earnestly study and learn from the excellent literature and art created by people in all countries worldwide. Only if we persist in using the foreign to serve the Chinese, exploration and innovation, ensuring combinations of the Chinese and the Western, and mastery through comprehensive study, will our country’s literature and art be able to flourish and develop better.

Xi Jinping stressed that all levels’ Party Committees must bring literature and art work onto the important matters agenda, implement the Party’s literature and art principles and policies well, and grasp the correct orientation of literature and art development. We must choose good leadership ranks for strong literature and art work units, put cadres who have both ability and integrity, and who are able to be on the same page as literature and art workers into leading positions in literature and art work. We must respect the creative individuality and creative labour of literature and art workers, have full confidence in political matters, provide enthusiastic support in creative matters, and create a good environment for the benefit of literature and art creation. We must, through deepening reform, perfecting policies and completing structures, shape a vivid picture of incessant production of excellent work and talents. We must give high attention to and realistically strengthen literature and art criticism work, use the viewpoints of history, the people, art and aesthetics to judge and appreciate works, advocate telling the truth, stressing virtue, and create a good atmosphere to develop literature and art criticism.

Wang Huning, Liu Yandong, Lu Qibao, Xu Qiliang and Li Zhanshu attended the Forum.

Persons in charge from relevant Party and State departments, and the Liberation Army General Political Department, as well as representatives of literature and art workers from all sectors participated in the Forum.



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Propaganda Chief Liu Qibao Elaborates China’s Indigenous Development Path

This article was published first in Qiushi, on 13 October.

We Are Marching on the Right Path

Some Points of Understanding concerning the Path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

Core points:

- When we say that China’s path can be marched correctly and to the end, this is not anyone’s subjective judgment, it is a powerful answer made in practice, it is a profound verdict reached through history and international comparison. We haven’t walked the old, closed and fossilized path, and haven’t walked the crooked road of changing our banners and allegiances, but have marched the new path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

- The path and the system are closely related, the success of the path is inseparable from systemic guarantees. China has chosen a particular system that is unique to it, which is the result for standing up to severe tests. Since the modern era, China has tried on various kinds and sorts of “shoes”, and has even thought about imitating the “peak” of Western systems, but in the end, these haven’t succeeded.

- Value concepts are the core of a development path. In understanding China’s path, the dimension of value cannot be overlooked. Where a nation and a country are concerned, the longest lasting and the most profound force are the core values that the entire society commonly recognizes.

- China’s path is the choice of the people, it is created by the people, and it has been made and marched by the Party in the lead of the people.

- On whether or not the path is good, the people who are on this path have the strongest right to speak. China’s people have, through the continued improvement in the material necessities of life, through the huge changes in the look of the country and through their eager desires and overflowing hopes, realistically felt the correctness of China’s path, and supported this path deep in their hearts.

There are no two completely identical tree leaves in the world. Similarly, there are no completely identical paths for the development of countries. It is as General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, a nation and a country must know who they are, where they came from and where they will go, and if this has been thought out clearly and well, they must unwaveringly advance towards their goal. Contemporary China is currently taking big strides on the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. This path has been marched through the magnificent practice of more than three decades of reform and opening up, it is marched through the sustained exploration in the more than six decades since the establishment of the New China, it is marched through the profound verdict of the development process of the Chinese nation in over 170 years since the advent of modernity, it is marched through the inheritance of the 5000 year of civilization of the Chinese nation, it ahs profound historical sources and a broad basis in reality. This path suits China’s national conditions, conforms to China’s characteristics, complies with the development requirements of the times, and is the necessary path to create beautiful lives for the people and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

We have come to the fore, and are running in the front row, in the “international contest”

When we say that China’s path can be marched correctly and to the end, this is not anyone’s subjective judgment, it is a powerful answer made in practice, it is a profound verdict reached through history and international comparison. If we look back to the grinding poverty and persistent weakness after the Opium War, and the destitution when the New China was established, and now look again at the completely new look and thriving vitality of present-day China, the great leaps and great advances of history exceed people’s imaginations, and provide the most vivid emphasis for the Communist Party leading the people in marching the Chinese path.

Practice is the best judgment, comparison is the most convincing. After the end of the Second World War and especially in the last thirty years, a contest between development paths and development models has imperceptibly formed between various countries worldwide. In this contest, many countries’ starting points were higher than China’s, their resources were richer than China’s, their external environments were better than China’s, and yet, after these years of struggle, the results of this competition are already starting to become clear. Some countries have changed their banners and their allegiances, with the result that they have taken wrong turns, and become mired in difficulties; some countries imitated other countries’ systems, with the result that these systems failed to acclimatize, like “planting southern oranges in the north”. In clear contrast, we have not marched an old, closed and fossilized path, neither have we marched a crooked path of changing banners and allegiances, but we have marched a new path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. On this path, we have used decades of time to complete a development process that took developed countries centuries, we realized a historical leap from poverty to comfort and again to moderate prosperity, the Chinese nation has overtaken the waves of progress of the times with big strides, and is welcoming a glorious prospect of great rejuvenation. In economic development, for instance, between 1979 and 2012, our country’s average annual GDP growth rate was 9.8%, which is far higher than the annual 2.8% growth in the global economy during the same period; our economy has vaulted into the second position worldwide, and its proportion of the global economy has risen from less than two per cent to nearly twelve per cent, from suffering material shortages and lack of products that happened in the past, we changed into “the factory of the world”, and are marching towards “the centre of the global stage”. Naturally, this path has not been even, on the journey, we have also suffered many complications and bumps, and have vanquished a series of risks and challenges. We don’t need to look far, we can just look at our response to this great test of the international financial crisis, when China submitted an outstanding answer sheet, and took a global lead in realizing an improvement in economic stability, it became an important driver in pushing the global economy to round the corner, and in recent years, China’s contribution to global economic growth exceeded 20 per cent, by now, it is even higher than thirty per cent. Some foreign government leaders and academics have named the huge changes in China as “the most significant event in current times”, and believe that China’s achievements are “without comparison”, the previous US Secretary of State, Kissinger, even sighed that it was “hard to believe” and “exceeded expectations”.

Since the 18th Party Congress, the Party Centre with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary has taken over the baton of history, it has persisted in taking Marxism as guidance, unwaveringly marched a Chinese path, blazed China’s path in step with the times, and continued to write this great writing of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. On a path of pursuing dreams and making them come true, the Party Centre has comprehensively planned the both the domestic and international big pictures, it has completely deepened reform, dared to bite through hard bones, dared to ford treacherous waters, resolved to destroy systemic and mechanistic abuses on all sides, and promoted the modernization of the country’s governing system and governing ability; it adapted to the new trends in economic growth, persisted in seeking progress through stability, reformed and innovated, and promoted the sustained and healthy development of the economy; it improved and protected people’s livelihoods on the basis of national circumstances, and wove a tight security net of the people’s livelihood; it persisted in strictly managing the Party and governing the Party, in leaving an impression on the stones it trod on, grasping work style construction with an iron ruthlessness, and combated corruption with an attitude of zero tolerance; it persisted in marching a path of peaceful development, and strove to build a new type of international relations with cooperation and common benefits at the core, and won the wholehearted support of the popular masses, and the broad respect of international society. The Party and the country have initiated a new dimension, they have created a new wind, and they have gained new successes, and have engraved a new historical marker in the journey along China’s path.

Decoding China’s path

As more and more attention came to be paid to China’s development miracle, its international influence grew ever larger, and “decoding China” became a hot topic in international society. Why is China able to do what it does? Why is the Chinese Communist Party able to do what it does? Such questions can always attract people’s broad reflection. The path and the system are closely connected, the success of the path is inseparable from the guarantees of the system. China has chosen a particular system unique to itself, which is the result of withstanding great tests. Since the beginning of modernity, China has tried on all kinds and sorts of “shoes”, and has even tried to imitate the “peaks” of Western systems, but in the end, this has never been successful. Only at the point where the Chinese Communist Party expanded, did all of this fundamentally change. Our Party has led the people in the practice of arduous struggle, it has found the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics through exploration, it created the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and established the system of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. In comparison with other systems, this system of ours has clear superiorities in many aspects, and reflects a sort of unique characteristics and a superior systemic civilization.

For instance, scientific and efficient policymaking and implementation. A country’s policymaking capacity and implementation efficiency are important yardsticks to measure its systemic quality. If unpredictable changes are made in policy, anything would become impossible. The previous president of Afghanistan, Karzai, said: “If Afghanistan had the opportunity to choose again, it would certainly have marched a Chinese-style development path. Because it acts efficiently, makes resolute policies, and is guided towards results.” This displays a prominent advantage of the Chinese system. Our system is able to focus on the overall interest of the people and the long-term development of the country, scientific and timely policymaking, and efficient and powerful implementation have effectively integrated continuation and exploration. The formulation of every “Five-Year Development Plan” processes through consultation and inquiry with all sides, things go up and down repeatedly, until up and down are integrated, and in the end, a consensus is shaped and a decision made. In concentrating strengths to deal with major affairs and resolve difficulties, our system displays strong implementation power. In the process of resisting the Great Wenchuan Earthquake and other such huge disasters, as soon as the Party Centre gave the order, immediate action was undertaken up and down the entire country, a majestic force was assembled to fight the disaster and provide disaster relief, and new homes were built within a quite short time.

For instance, broad and effective people’s democracy. Our democracy is a people’s democracy. Some things can be settled through discussion, the masses negotiating the affairs of the masses , and finding the greatest common denominator of the will and demands of the entire society is found, are the true essence of the people’s democracy. We have instituted the basic political system of the People’s Congress system, we implement multi-Party cooperation and political consultation systems under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, autonomous ethnic region system as well as grass-roots mass autonomy systems and other such basic political systems. The people exercise their power through elections and voting, and a broad, multi-level and institutionalized consultative democracy is implemented among the people, these are two kinds of important democratic elements of our country’s Socialist democratic politics. Such democratic forms not only have a complete systemic order, they also have a complete practice of participation, which benefits strengthening the cooperation and consultation between all forces in society. In comparison, Western democracies characterized by multi-party systems and tripartite separations of power, reveal their abuses and limitations more and more every day. A number of Western scholars recognize that in recent years, Western democracy has faced a profound crisis, checks and balances in democratic systems have evolved into impediments of power, while party games have taken the national interest hostage. A number of countries have blindly “transplanted” or “imported” Western democracy, but have fallen into an endless cycle of regime change and social unrest, resulting in “the early death of democracy”. Only a democratic system that has taken root in the soil of a country, and draws abundant nutrients from it, can be reliable and effective. In this regard we must keep a clear mind and maintain our political orientation, we cannot attend to trifles while neglecting the main matter, nor slavishly imitate others.

For example, the multi-layered practice and experience of selecting the able for appointments. Through a long period of exploration, we have formed selection and appointment mechanisms that broadly take in the virtuous, and are brimming with vitality, we have broadly assembled talents from all sides within all undertakings of the Party and the State. All levels’ leading cadres have, on the journey to their leading positions, had to undergo severe organizational inspections, democratic recommendations, competitive selections and other such procedures, they have all undergone the test of time and have been tempered in practice, they all have grass-roots experience in many positions and remarkable work achievements. The cartoon film “How Are Leaders Selected” that is popular online has vividly displayed this. Now, a long time of “Chinese kung-fu”-style training, selecting and appointing the able, is gaining the recognition of ever more visionaries around the world.

For example, the coordinated efforts of the “two hands” of market and government. Our country implements the Socialist market economy system, its clear characteristic is that it stresses giving rein to the role of the market, and stresses giving rein to the role of government, to ensure that the “invisible hand” and the “visible hand” are both used well. This systemic arrangement both respects the common laws of the market economy, and remedies the failures of market mechanisms, such as is blindness, its spontaneity and its lag, it integrates the roles of the market and the government well. By relying on this system, we have produce a “report card for the Socialist market economy” that has caused admiration around the world. Some countries worldwide have become separate of their own reality, and mechanically applied prescriptions written out by neoliberalism, they conducted complete non-interference, liberalization, privatization and marketization, the result is that they have stumbled into development “traps”, from which it is difficult to extricate them. On the basis of explorations in practice and deepening understanding, our Party has proposed “letting the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources and giving better rein to the goal of government” as a major theoretical viewpoint, this provides a new scientific orientation to the relationship between market and government. This inevitably promotes the incessant deepening of reform in our country’s economic system, and further gives rein to the superiorities of the Socialist market economy.

In his important speech at the conference to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the National People’s Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping clearly put forward important standards for evaluation whether a political system is democratic and effective. In comparison with these standards, with our decisive progress in practice, we have handed over a convincing examination sheet. Practice demonstrates that China’s system has huge superiorities, resilience, vitality and potential, it has enriched and developed the institutional culture of human societies .Some foreign scholars have pointed out that the Western development model is being resorted into a regional development model, and that the success of China’s model has opened up a plural era in which various systems coexist and compete. Even Fukuyama, who put forward the “end of history theory” believes that the Chinese model has a number of important advantages that Western democratic systems lack, and that space should be reserved for China in the treasure house of human thought and civilization.

Seeking the roots of China’s path

We have concentrated the most persistent and most profound spiritual forces

Chinese culture is the “root” and “spirit” of our nation, and is the deep soil in which the Chinese path was born and lives. The magnificent culture that the Chinese nation has created for over 5000 years contains precious ideological resources and noble value pursuits, it contains important inspirations to resolve the difficulties that humanity faces at present, such as the beautiful ideals of “grand harmony” and “moderate prosperity”, the political concept that “the people are the root of a country, and if the roots are stable, the country is tranquil”, the spirit of struggle of “as Heaven is ever vigorous, the virtuous must constantly strive for improvement”, the important thought of “harmony in difference, and harmonious coexistence”, the broad heart of “maintaining amity through good faith”, “peace and harmony between all nations” and other such things, unobtrusively influence the ways of thinking and acting of Chinese people. But since modernity, some people have come to believe that the reason China fell back was not only because it was inferior in skills or systems, but because it was inferior in culture, it lost confidence in its national culture, and even put forward the viewpoint of “wholesale Westernization”. The Chinese Communist Party has taken up the great banner of inheriting and carrying forward Chinese culture, and proposing and developing advanced culture, it has used scientific theory to endow Chinese culture with advanced ideological content. During the long-term practice of revolution, construction and reform, we have held fast to the position of Chinese culture, inherited China’s cultural genome, promoted the creative transformation and innovative development of Chinese culture, shaped a modern Chinese culture, and provided rich nourishment for the creation and development of China’s path.

Value concepts are the core of a development path. To understand China’s path, we cannot overlook the dimension of values. For a nation or a country, the most persistent and the most profound force are core value views that the entire society jointly recognizes. Our Party has put forward the Socialist core value system which advocates wealth and strength, democracy, civilization and harmony, advocates freedom, equality, fairness and the rule of law, and advocates patriotism, respect for work, sincerity and amity, this profoundly answered the major question of which kind of country to build, which kind of society to build, and which kind of citizen to foster, it is the concentrated expression of the spiritual and value level of the Chinese path. This core value system inherits the value core of traditional Chinese culture, reflects the essential properties, development requirements and struggle objectives of Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is the “greatest common denominator” of Chinese civic values. On the Chinese path, in the face of the intensifying mutual agitation, exchange, mingling and clashing of various ideologies and cultures, we forcefully construct the Socialist core value system, vigorously foster and practice the Socialist core value system, establish dominance over pluralism, seek consensus in diversity, and effectively integrate social ideologies and value pursuits. To persist in and expand the Chinese path, we must further strengthen self-confidence about values, we can absolutely not blindly become an echo of Western value concepts, and we can absolutely not lose our own spiritual independence.

The result of smelting yellow sand is gold. The formation and development of the Chinese path not only means material enrichment and institutional perfection, it also reflects spiritual plenty and cultural vitalization. The most important matter in this regard is inheriting and carrying forward a national spirit with patriotism at the core, casting a spirit of the times with reform and innovation at the core, and assembling them into a magnificent Chinese spirit. Along the way, we experienced baptisms through various major events, we were steeled by various risks and challenges, we incessantly infused the Chinese spirit with new vitality and content, and inspired the Chinese people to march toward the future with a vigorous and youthful spirit. On this path, we have pained a magnificent scroll of cultural development and flourishing, traditional plays, folksongs, folk music, stories, poems and other cultural forms have gained a bright life force, modern films, television dramas, popular music, network cartoons and other cultural forms emerge one after another in great splendour, cultural innovation, creation and vitality are incessantly strengthening, the cultural lives of the popular masses have become more varied and colourful, their spiritual world has been incessantly enriched. “Made in China” and “sent abroad”. Now, a “Chinese culture craze” continue to rise in temperature, Confucius institutes have opened branches and spread their leaves across more than 100 countries, learning Mandarin, reading Chinese books, watching Chinese films and listening to Chinese stories have begun being popular in a number of countries, the international influence and infectiousness of Chinese culture has greatly strengthened, and the long-standing and well-established Chinese culture is marching towards new glories.

Judging China’s path

We take the common development of and common sharing by the whole body of the people as the final standard.

China’s path is the choice of the people, and is created by the people, it has been worked out and marched by the Party leading the people. It may be said that every breakthrough and innovation we made in understanding and practice, the emergence and development of every novelty during reform and open up, the creation and accumulation of every important experience in modernization an construction, invariably originated from the practice and the wisdom of the popular masses. From the 18 peasant households in Xiaogang Village who put their red fingerprints on a “household contract”, as well as countless peasants washing their feet, leaving agriculture and throwing themselves into township and village enterprises, to “taking a long and arduous journey and suffering untold hardships” to set up people-run enterprises, etc., hundreds of millions of people have explored and innovated, this became a powerful driver for reform and opening up. Exactly because our Party respected the dominant role of the people, and respected the pioneering spirit of the masses, it was able to let all the vitality of all labour, knowledge, technology, management and capital compete and burst forth, and let all sources creating social wealth flow freely, which enabled the Chinese path to obtain the most profound sources of strength.

The people’s yearning for a beautiful life is our struggle objective. The Chinese people warmly love life, their are full of dreams, they hope for a better education, more stable jobs, more and comfortable housing conditions, they seek the protection of their dignity, the success of the undertakings and the realizations of their values. In more than three decades of reform and opening up, these simple drams have progressively come true, and they are now striding ahead to even higher levels. Our determination to invest in people’s livelihood is great, and our strength is great, this is rare everywhere in the world. We have taken ten years of time to realize a minimum living security system, a system for basic care for the elderly in town and country, and basic healthcare system with complete coverage, we have built a basic social security network that some Western countries have only completed in a century. Through many years of efforts, China now has 600 people who escaped from poverty, and completed seventy per cent of the complete global task of poverty reduction. There is no end to protecting the people’s livelihood, there is only an incessant stream of new starting points. Since the 18th Party Congress, household registration reform, student recruitment examination reform, and birth planning policy adjustment have been completed, and a batch of policies to improve people’s livelihoods has been rolled out, ensuring that more fruits of development are extended more fairly to the whole body of the People. The American scholar Kuhn believes that, “in all of human history, it has never happened that this many people have achieved these living standards at such a speed.”

On whether or not the path is good, the people who are on this path have the greatest right to speak. The Chinese people have personally felt the correctness of the Chinese path, through the sustained improvement in material living conditions, through the huge changes in the look of the country, and through their full hopes and desires, and have embraced this path in their hearts. Some people metaphorically say that in the more than three decades of reform and opening up, the absolute majority of Chinese people have actually undergone a “welfare revolution”, the “major purchase” consumption in common households has gone from wristwatches, bicycles, sewing machines in the past to refrigerators, colour television and washing machines, and again to houses, cars and computers at present, an earthshattering change has happened. At present, Chinese people have a relatively satisfied and optimistic attitude towards the general circumstances and development prospects of their own country. In 2013, the amount of returning overseas students exceeded 350.000, this is more than thirty times the number at the beginning of this century, and an increase of over 32 per cent annually. The “homecoming wave” of these overseas students clearly demonstrates the attraction of China, and from one angle reflects people’s convictions in the future of the country. With hundreds of millions of people firmly believing in the Chinese path, we will have ever more reason and ever more stamina to march along this path.

The question about the path is most fundamental, it relates to the rise and fall of the nation’s destiny, and the happiness of the people. In the Nineties of the previous century, when he stood on the bridgehead of the Yangpu Bridge, and overlooked the new Shanghai, where the great wave of reform and opening up was surging, Comrade Deng Xiaoping sighed: “the joy of seeing the road of today surpasses reading for a century.” We must ever more cherish the Chinese path, on which the Party has led the people to undergo untold hardships, and whose success has come against various kinds of costs, persistently and incessantly extend and expand it. We must incessantly deepen our ideological identification, theoretical identification and emotional identification with Socialism with Chinese characteristics, incessantly strengthen our self-confidence about the path, self-confidence about theory and self-confidence about the system, maintain our strategic orientation from beginning to end, not fear any risk, and not become doubtful for any interference. We firmly believe that the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics must become ever broader, and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the nation can absolutely be realized!


Parsing the New Internet Rules of China’s Supreme Court

Yesterday, the Supreme People’s Court issued a document with the – predictably convoluted – title “Supreme People’s Court Regulations concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handing Civil Dispute Cases involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests”. This document provides instructions to People’s Courts on certain aspect of dealing with civil cases involving harm to personality rights, including the right to privacy, portrait rights and reputational rights. (Full disclosure, I was involved in an academic project that provided input into the drafting process). It has been drafted to supplement the broad language of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, which sets forth a basis of liability for the online infringement of citizens’ rights, and provides for basic remedial measures. The Article’s wording left many questions of procedure and substance unanswered, meaning that courts (which in China’s civil law-based system have considerably less leeway to interpret the law, and do not create binding precedents) often faced considerable difficulties in handling these cases.

So, what are the salient points?

Most of the provisions in the document relate to procedure, yet have important consequences for the potential liability of network service providers and a fortiori, Internet users. Article 3, for instance, indicates that if a plaintiff sues only an Internet user or a network service provider (rather than both), the defendant may request that the other party is added to the case as a joint defendant. In other words, defendants are incentivized to share the blame and, in case compensation is ordered, the costs. Internet service providers are also mandated to provide identity and contact details of Internet users posting unlawful information, and face punishment if they do not provide this (Article 4). So far, efforts to impose an online real-name registration system have only been moderately successful, but depending on the penalty companies might incur if they are not able to provide identity details to courts, that might just change a little. Yet the real-name requirement goes both ways, as Article 5 indicates that Internet service providers are exempt from liability if the plaintiff’s notification about the presence of harmful content does not include a full name and contact details, indication of the harmful information, and an explanation for why it might be harmful. Furthermore, plaintiffs who falsely indicate that certain information is unlawful, face tort liability themselves (Article 8).

One particular bugbear in Article 36 was knowledge of the infringement as a necessary basis for liability for Internet service providers. Article 9 of the SPC Regulations provide a number of possible factors, including whether the ISP actively processed the information, the extent to which it can be reasonably expected that the ISP has the ability to identify this kind of information, the degree to which it is clear that the information is unlawful, its influence and hit rate, the extent to which it is possible to carry out remedial measures, and whether a case concerns repeated infringement by the same user or through the same information. Another hot topic was the question of liability for retweeting information, particularly since criminal liability was imposed for retweeting false defamatory information more than 500 times last year. On the civil side of things, these regulations provide that fault is a condition for liability for retweets, and might be constituted by the duty of care borne by the retweeter, the extent to which it is clear that the information is unlawful, and whether or not the retweeter alters the information in a manner resulting in harm. This is an interesting inversion of the public figure doctrine as it exists in the US. Under American defamation law, prominent public figures must satisfy a higher burden of proof (actual malice) than common individuals in cases of alleged defamation against themselves. Within the Chinese system, public figures, such as online celebrities and “Big Vs”, bear a greater duty of care than common individuals not to defame others, because of the disproportional impact their expressions may have.

Article 11 confirms that tort liability applies also to defamatory expressions concerning commercial parties, as well as their products and services, while Article 12 imposes a presumption of tort liability in cases where individuals’ medical and criminal history, their household address, and other such private details are published. Exceptions include agreement or self-publication by the data subject, publication for the public interest or scientific research under conditions of anonymization, and for the purpose of obeying other laws and regulations. In short, it may be assumed that this presumption is not strong enough to prevent the publication of, say, the telephone book. A very broad exception is granted to State organs, who (at least as far as this particular provision is concerned) can publish whatever they like in fulfilment of their duties.

The SPC also goes after the much-maligned “black PR” business. First, it declares all agreements concerning the deletion, alteration or blocking of online information for payment invalid. Second, it institutes tort liability for these activities, meaning that affected users and ISP have a right to recourse (and compensation), and thus an incentive to sue. (Article 15) Further incentives to sue are introduced in Article 18, which provides that reasonable expenses incurred to stop the infringement, as well as reasonable lawyer’s fees may be included in the calculation of compensation. This might mitigate much of the cost of litigation, which has hitherto been identified as one of the higher barriers against the filing of cases. There is also a statutory amount of compensation provided for cases in which the actual damage is difficult to calculate, fixed at 500,000 Yuan (£50k/US$81k/€64,5k). This may not seem like a lot at first, but it is nearly twenty times the average amount of urban disposable income reported for 2013.

Is this not just another form of Internet control?

To a certain degree, yes. In particular, the requirement that ISPs must provide real identity information to courts when demanded has elicited some concern in foreign reports. Equally, there are legitimate questions about some of the wide exceptions given to State bodies in some of the new rules. But the matter is a bit more complex, and deserves more nuance than the simple “dictatorial government quashes civil rights” narrative.

1: These rules fall under civil law, not criminal or administrative law.

For non-lawyers: civil law is the law that governs relationships between individual citizens. Tort law is one part of it, and exists to provide relief to individual who suffer harm through wrongful actions by others. Consequently, cases within this area of law are initiated by the victim of a wrong, not by the State. This actually makes it not so useful a tool for coercive State power as criminal or administrative law – which the State controls much more. Furthermore, Chinese tort law (as, indeed, most of global tort law) is aimed at compensating harm, not punishing wrongdoing. In other words, the consequences of a finding of liability might result, for instance, in an order to pay compensation, restore the status quo ante, or an apology, not in prison time. (This is why media outlets should take care about the use of the word criminalization – it’s not because something is unlawful that it’s criminal). It may well be that officials might intervene on patrons’ behalf during litigation, just as happens in any other area of law, but problematic as that would be, it could in principle happen on both sides of the argument.

2: Much of the harm identified by these regulations is real

What is rarely discussed in Western media is that the Chinese Internet is rampant with various kinds of scams. The announcements that some general died in a country far away and generously left me a few million (which I receive on a regular basis – being a general apparently comes with a high death rate) pale in comparison with some of the stuff that goes on in China, which includes the alleged extortion of more than 100 companies by one of the country’s leading media group. In my view, it is not unreasonable, nor illegitimate, that legislators aim to protect citizens (and companies) from harm that might occur through malicious publication or alteration of online information, or at least create ways in which compensation might be sought.

3: Some provisions might actually enhance transparency

One of the targets of these new rules is the “black PR” industry, people who are paid to remove or alter publicly available information about companies, but also officials. It is one of the ways by which corrupt officials aim to avoid the gaze of Beijing’s censorate, the Central Discipline Inspection Committee. There is a continuing stream of reports about companies that used the industry to slander competitors, extort funds as indicated above, or remove negative stories about themselves. These new rules may, at least in theory, empower both the posters of legitimate information as the websites on which it is published.

Aren’t you just feeding the trolls now?

There are many, problems with the Chinese legal system that are far broader and more profound than these specific new rules. This new document actually illustrates them in quite an interesting manner. We get a lot of specifics about procedure: who can be liable, which documents are necessary to evade liability, under which circumstances can they be liable, etc. What this Judicial Interpretation does not provide, is a clear list of criteria to decide on the facts of the case, or in other words, how to determine whether a particular expression is defamatory or infringes another personal right, and if the answer to that is yes, whether there is a legitimate defence for having done so. In comparison, most voluminous section of the UK Defamation Act 2013 is the section outlining all particular defences, and their constitutive elements. Furthermore, it institutes a threshold of serious harm, to forestall lawsuits over trivial insults. De minimis non curat lex. But this Act exists within a broader legal context: one in which a constitutional presumption of free speech has been strongly established. The Defamation Act thus exists at the intersection of two fundamental principles: the (tort-based) protection against harm through wrongful acts, and the necessity to safeguard free speech – even if that entails certain individuals must be called upon to tolerate, or even suffer, certain harms. One of the most important reasons free speech is a fundamental part of many Western legal systems is exactly to protect publications that might be found offensive and harmful. One does not need free speech protection to publish Paddington Bear as much as one needs it to publish Common Sense. Political opinions, racy novels, horror films or religious treatises often easily evoke resentment and (at least perceived) harm to the self. But toleration of what is resented has become essential for the organization of an open and pluralist society – its impossible to please everyone. Neither is it possible to protect everyone from the inevitable vicissitudes of life through the law. Still, most legal systems in the world have – rightly, in my view – decided that free speech does not extend to malicious and false accusations, for instance. To be sure, the line is thin, and there will always be a good argument on why a particular lawsuit should have gone another way. That’s why we call it a judgment; most cases aren’t black or white, they imply a choice between two competitive arguments on the basis of legitimate concerns. Perhaps ironically, a steady stream of cases might be beneficial: it allows us to continue debating on the judgments and decisions made in concrete cases, and how they reflect the way we want our society to be governed. Also, it is beneficial not to try and legislate for all possible occurrences, the transaction costs would be horrible, reality might change in surprising ways, and the consequences of pernickety micromanagement might be worse than having legal disputes from time to time. In short: Western legal systems see legal disputes as inevitable at worst and possibly salutary at best.

Chinese law is founded on rather different assumptions, the most relevant to this discussion perhaps being the one that a legal system is perfectible, and thus eliminate all kinds of harm. The Imperial Code contained an article imposing punishment on all things “that should not be done”. Both Republican and Communist ideology was predicated on utopian ideals, remnants of which remain in, for instance, the Chinese Dream. Reform policy documents often contain the verb 完善 wanshan, or “to make perfect”. In short: there is no such thing as a legitimate (or unsolvable) problem. This is one reason why this website already contains about 900 translated legal documents: every time something happens that is deemed problematic, the government must do something, even if it is something as trivial as the employment of actors who might have used drugs. It also means that it is extremely tricky and sensitive to navigate the question of which harm one might be expected to tolerate. The instinct of the Chinese legal mind is simply to stop harm from occurring.

To a certain degree, that is a laudable aim. These new regulations would, for instance, provide a convenient path for Jennifer Lawrence to attenuate the circulation of her nude photos. All she would need to do, in theory, is sue the website on which they are posted (which, under Chinese law, must be registered and therefore are identifiable), which in turn can be required to identify all persons who have posted them. But the question is not about the individual alone, but about the collective as well. This approach would also mean that the Internet would be a lot less chaotic and raucous (for better and worse) than it is now. To the Chinese government, that is not a bad thing. Perhaps the best metaphor to describe China’s view of the Internet is a French garden: geometrically perfect and ordered, without a single sprig out of place. Indeed, the objective is to ensure that all sprigs, branches and leaves know their own place and behave accordingly. There are two unresolved problems here. First, what if people disagree with the vision or actions of the gardener? Second, it is difficult to see why citizens would act civilly on the Internet when the Party that governs them is riddled with corruption, is regularly – and clumsily – economical with the truth and steadfastly refuses to engage with broader society. In short, while there might be a case to be made for these rules on their own, they come into being against the background of an intractably dysfunctional system.








Xinhua: Standardizing Case Trials of Online Torts, the Supreme People’s Court Issues a Judicial Interpretation

This article was published by Xinhua on 9 October.

(Journalists Luo Sha, Xu Wei)

On the 9th, the Supreme People’s Court published the “Supreme People’s Court Regulations concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handing Civil Dispute Cases involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests“, these Regulations will take effect on 10 October.

The Supreme People’s Court spokesperson, Sun Jungong, stated that this just-published Judicial Interpretation created a system of judicial rules for problems of Internet law together with the “Regulations concerning Some Issues of Applicable Law in Hearing Civil Dispute Cases on Infringement of the Right to Dissemination through Information Networks” and the “Interpretation concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Hearing Criminal Cases of Fabrication and Wilful Dissemination of False and Terrorizing Information”, and is of significant importance in standardizing online activities and establishing a desirable online order.

Courts can order network service providers to provide personal information and lock out infringers.

“When persons carrying out infringing acts online are hidden in the shadows, and publish posts without gods and ghosts knowing about it, it is often difficult to determine the defendant when persons suffering an infringement want to file a complaint”, said Yao Hui, the Vice-President of the First Civil Chamber of the Supreme People’s Court.

With regard to this sort of situation, this Judicial Interpretation provides new rules in two areas: the first is in terms of judicial procedure, it allows plaintiffs to only sue a network user or a network service provider. Where the defendant requests the addition of the network service provider suspected of infringement, or a network user can be determined as a joint defendant or third party, the People’s Court shall allow this.

The second clarifies that after the plaintiff files a complaint, People’s Courts may, on the basis of the circumstances of the case and the request of the plaintiff, order a network service provider to provide the personal information of an online user who is suspected of infringement, in order to make it easier for the plaintiff to file the case. This information includes the name, contact method, network address and other such information, by which a network user suspected of infringement can be identified.

“Where network service providers refuse to provide this information without valid grounds, People’s Courts may adopt punitive measures against the network service providers on the basis of the corresponding provisions of the Civil Procedure Law”, the Judicial Interpretation stipulates at the same time.

Liability must also be borne for “retweeting”, the determination of “fault” is key

Sun Jungong stated that social media, such as Weibo and WeChat which developed rapidly in recent years, as well as the self-media that these engendered, have a power far exceeding that of traditional media in aspects such as scope of distribution, influence, etc.

“In the light of this characteristic, the Judicial Interpretation includes provisions concerning the retweeting of online information”, he said.

The Judicial interpretation stipulates that People’s Courts establishing the fault of network users and network service providers in retweeting online information and its extent, shall comprehensively consider the following factors: a duty of care commensurate with the nature and scope of influence of the reprinting subject; the extent to which it is clear that the retweeted information infringes another person’s personal rights; whether or not the retweeted information has been substantially altered, whether or not article titles are added or altered, and the probability that this leads to grave inconsistency with content and may mislead the public.

“At present, the number of cases concerning self-media torts is not too prominent, but following the development of network technology, I feel that this sort of cases may become more frequent in the future”, Yao Hui stated, one important factor in establishing the responsibility borne by retweeters is “fault”, this requires that judges consider and judge the matter by integrating evidence and objective facts.

“For example, if you are a ‘Big V’, you should know that you might rashly retweet something, with a large influence. Your works, your every move might influence a great audience, your legal duties therefore include greater attention. You should be more cautious”.

Saying “no” to ‘paid-for post deletion” and “water armies”

“IN practice, one important factor among the reasons for the existence of the Internet industry, represented by illegal post deletion service, is that Internet technology is asymmetrical, network users posting infringing information or network service providers often have a technological superiority. This Judicial Interpretation provides rules against these activities through a civil liability angle”, Sun Jungong said.

The Judicial Interpretation provides that the People’s Courts shall determine invalid agreements between a person suffering infringement and a network user or network service provider committing infringement in which one side pays remuneration and the other side provides deletion, blocking, severance of links and other such services.

“Where specific online information is distorted, deleted or blocked without authorization, or other persons are prevented from obtaining online information through the method of severing links, and the network user or network service provider publishing the information concerned request that the infringer bears tort liability, the People’s Courts shall support this. Where entrustment by others is accepted to carry out the acts concerned, the entrusting person and the entrusted person bear joint liability.”

The Judicial Interpretation at the same time clarifies that where another person is employed, organized, instigated to or assisted with the publication or reprinting of online information that infringes another person’s personal rights and interests, and the person suffering infringement requests that the actors bear joint liability, the People’s Courts shall support this.

Reasonably determining whether network service providers “know” about infringement

Paragraph 3 of Article 36 of our country’s Tort Liability Law provides that: “Network service providers who know that network users use their network services to infringe another person’s civil rights and interest, and do not adopt necessary measures, bear joint liability with the network user concerned.”

This Judicial Interpretation includes the following provision on this matter: Where a People’s Court determines, on the basis of Paragraph 3 of Article 36 of the Tort Liability Law, whether a network service provider “knew”, it shall comprehensively consider the following factors: whether or not network service providers, through manual or automatic means, recommended, ranked, selected, edited, arranged, revised or in other ways processed the infringing online information; the ability to manage information that network service providers should have, as well as the nature and method of the provided service, and the extent of the probability that it might cause infringement; the category of personal rights and interests infringed by the online information concerned, as well as the degree of clarity; the extent of the social influence of the online information concerned, or its browsing rates for a determined period; the technological possibility for network service providers to adopt measures to prevent infringement, and whether corresponding reasonable measures have been adopted; whether or not network service providers have adopted corresponding reasonable measures against the same network users’ repeated act of infringement or the same infringing information; other factors related to the specific case.

“The Internet sector has entered a phase in which content, community and commerce are highly integrated, how to establish this “knowledge” required some caution”, Sun Jungong said, an overly stern standard might create overly onerous burdens for network service providers, influencing the free communication of lawful information. Overly lax standards then might lead to network service providers who are complacent about carrying out the necessary duty of care, indulging and even actively carrying out tortious acts.

Increased protection for personal information, expansion of judicial protection for persons suffering infringement

Sun Jungong stated that in the Internet era, the protection of personal information and especially personal electronic information faces many challenges.

This Judicial interpretation provides that where network users or network service providers use the network to publish genetic information, medical history materials, health investigation materials, criminal records, household addresses, personal activities and other such private and personal information, resulting in harm to others, and the person suffering infringement requests that they bear tort liability, the People’s Courts shall support this.

The Judicial Interpretation provides at the same time for circumstances in which exceptions are made. These include publication within the scope of an agreement with the natural person in writing, within the scope necessary to promote the social public interest, etc.

Furthermore, in response to the reality that in judicial practice, costs for rights defence are high, and the costs for using the network to infringe other persons’ personal rights and interests are low, the Judicial Interpretation provides that “reasonable expenses incurred by the person suffering infringement to terminate the infringing act, may be determined as asset loss according to the provisions of Article 20 of the Tort Liability Law”.

“Where it is not possible to determine the asset loss the person suffering infringement suffered because of harm to personal rights, or the profit the infringer obtained from this, People’s Courts may determine the amount of compensation, on the basis of the concrete circumstances of the case, to the extent of 500.000 Yuan or less”, the Judicial Interpretation provides.

Sun Jungong said that these Regulations expand the judicial protection for persons suffering infringement, benefit containing the sprawl of online torts and thereby realize that the online atmosphere is normal and orderly.

Supreme People’s Court Regulations concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handing Civil Dispute Cases involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests

In order to correctly hear civil dispute cases involving the use of information networks to harm personal rights and interests, on the basis of the provisions of the “General Principles of the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China”, the “Tort Liability Law of the People’s Republic of China”, the “National People’s Congress Standing Committee Decision concerning Strengthening Online Information Protection”, the “Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China”, and by integration with judicial practice, these Regulations are formulated.

Article 1: Civil dispute cases involving the use of information networks to harm personal rights and interests as mentioned in these Regulations, refers to dispute cases triggered by harm to another persons’ right to a name, right to reputation, portrait right, right to privacy and other such personal rights and interests through the use of information networks. Continue reading

Virtual Lines in the Sand: China’s Demands for Internet Sovereignty


Presenting the Standing Committee, a collective academic blog on all things China.

Originally posted on The Standing Committee:

Rogier Creemers

The Internet figured heavily in Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Brazil. With the push of a button, Xi and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil inaugurated the Portugese language service of Chinese search giant Baidu. The telecommunications technology company Huawei signed an agreement to create an R&D centre in Brazil, focusing on mobile, big data and security technology. Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce corporation, is teaming up with Correios, the state-owned post company, to develop logistical procedures and payment services for Brazilian small businesses.

Xi also made Internet governance a main theme in his speech to the Brazilian National Congress. He reiterated China’s basic position that the sovereignty of individual countries should be the basis of international cooperation. “In the current world, the development of the Internet has posed new challenges to national sovereignty, security and development interests, and we must respond to this earnestly. Although the Internet has the…

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SAPPRFT Reiterates Provisions concerning the Management of Online Foreign Television Dramas

A few days ago, SAPPRFT issued a Notice reiterating provisions concerning the management of online foreign television dramas, which demanded that for foreign television dramas used for dissemination on the Internet and other such information networks, a “Public Film Screening Permit” and a “Television Drama Distribution Permit” must be obtained according to the law. Foreign television dramas for which no “Public Film Screening Permit” or “Television Drama Distribution Permit” has been obtained, may not be disseminated online without exception.

The “Notice” points out that, in order to make online culture develop and flourish, at the same time as inheriting and carrying forward China’s excellent cultural traditions, [we must] vigorously absorb the world’s advanced cultural achievements, and encourage Internet audiovisual programme service websites meeting conditions to import and distribute appropriate amounts of foreign television dramas with healthy content, good production levels, which carry forward the true, the good and the beautiful, and satisfy the popular masses’ daily increasing spiritual cultural needs. Continue reading

SIIO Director’s Five Priorities for Internet Development

Between 26 and 28 August, the 2014 China Internet Conference took place in the Beijing International Conference Centre. State Internet Information Office Vice-Director Ren Xianliang delivered an address at the opening ceremony of this Conference.

Respected Minister Miao, Minister Shang and Academician Wu, guests, friends:

Good morning everyone!

The 2014 China Internet Conference ceremoniously starts here today, this is a grand occasion for our country’s Internet circles this year. I sincerely represent the State Internet Information Office in expressing warm congratulations for the successful convention of the Conference.

Since it was first organized in 2002, successive Internet Conferences have been closely tied up with trends in the sector’s development, have incessantly explored and innovated, its content has become ever richer, its forms have become ever more diverse, which fully reflects the huge achievements made in our country’s Internet development, it has become a distinguished gathering for the sector to jointly discuss major affairs on Internet development, and has played a positive role in deepening cooperation and exchange, stimulating sectoral innovation, and moving the sector’s development forward.

This Conference’s theme is “creating limitless opportunities – forging an economic era for a new age”, which gives prominence to the important position and role of the Internet in assisting economic development, stimulating social transformation and enriching the lives of the common people. This topic is very important, I hope everyone fully uses the platform that this Conference created to jointly explore channels to innovate information technology, safeguard cybersecurity and move informatization forward, and to promote the continued healthy development of China’s Internet.

In the 20 years since China’s complete access to the international Internet, our country’s Internet has seen developments at flying speed, and it has become the largest Internet country in the world with 6332 million netizens. At present, the Internet has merged into every aspect of social life, it has profoundly changed economic and social development, and people’s production and living methods, it has promoted the innovation of social management and the modernization of the governing system, and brought unprecedented new opportunities and new challenges to Chinese society.

In the beginning of this year, the Centre established the Leading Group for Cybersecurity and Informatization, General Secretary Xi Jinping personally took up the post of director of this Leading Group, at the first meeting of the Leading Group on 27 February, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the important judgment that “without cybersecurity, there is not national security, without informatization, there is no modernization”, he stressed that our strategic objective is to build a strong network country, and the strategic deployment to build a strong network country must advance in step with the “Two Centuries” struggle objective. This fully reflects the firm determination of the Party and the State in protecting cybersecurity and promoting the development of informatization. The Centre is paying great attention to cybersecurity and informatization work, which as also placed great expectations on Internet circles. We must deeply comprehend the spirit of the Centre, closely follow the tide of the technological revolution in information technology worldwide, and vigorously throw ourselves into constructing a strong network country.

Here, I would like to raise a few points of opinion, and exchange and explore them with everyone.

First, we must make innovation into the perpetual thread of Internet development. When looking over the history of the Internet’s development, every technological breakthrough is the result of people diligently seeking out incessant innovations. It can be said that innovation is the genome of the Internet, and the source of the Internet’s vitality and vigour. There are no limits to the development of the Internet, neither are there limits to innovation, we must now squarely face up to the great opportunities brought by a new round of scientific and technological revolutions and industrial change. In the area of the Internet, we must urgently accelerate the implementation of the strategy to drive development with innovation, with participation from many sides, working hand in hand, and jointly forge a cyberspace that is full of vigour and rich in innovation.

We must promote the close integration of Internet innovation and economic and social development, encourage and support, small, mid-size and micro-enterprises to vigorously participate and compete, stimulate the vitality of the market, lay stress on giving rein to the decisive role of the market in allocating resources, and ensure that enterprises truly become the core and backbone forces in Internet innovation. We must persist in a problem-based orientation, closely follow new global Internet science and technology development trends, clarify the direction of the main attack in Internet innovation, enhance original innovation, integrated innovation, and import-digestion-re-innovation capacities, and seize the commanding heights in Internet science and technology competition and future development. We must strive to improve the environment for talent development, improve talent evaluation and incentive mechanisms, establish and complete talent fostering systems, select, use and employ talents well, and strengthen the knowledge support driving Internet innovation. We must strengthen international innovation, further accelerate the pace of “bringing in” and “marching out”, actively participate in global science and technology exchange and cooperation, support enterprises in establishing research and development bodies overseas, and vigorously merge them into global innovation networks.

Second, we must make media convergence into an important part of Internet development. The development of the Internet has promoted the cross-boundary convergence of traditional media and new media, the converged development of traditional media and new media has become an important trend in the development of Internet content. Promoting the converged development of traditional media and new media is an urgent and strategic task, we must establish integrated development ideas, and do more exploratory work to promote the convergence of traditional media and new media in areas including content channels, platforms, operations and management.

We must persist in Internet thinking, act on the basis of the development laws of new media, plan and move work in all areas forward, we must fully use the most advanced network technology means to transform traditional media, innovate information dissemination models, and occupy the commanding heights of information dissemination, including using microblogs, WeChat and other such platforms, operate good legal persona accounts, and broaden user scope; use big data and cloud computing technology in the production, storage and distribution if news products; under the precondition of respecting user privacy, provide individualized and localized news services grounded in the people’s needs, enhance news and propaganda effects in the mobile Internet environment.

We must persist in using advanced technology as support and content construction as the root. New Internet technologies and new businesses emerge incessantly, and change information carriers and forms, yet what remains unchanged is the competitive rule that “content is king”. We must give rein to the superiorities of traditional media and new media, fully utilize new technologies and new methods, develop through convergence, and give rein to traditional media’s strengths in areas such as information gathering, analysis and interpretation to the greatest extent, at the same time, we must use new media’s forms of expression and dissemination methods to display news and information products better.

We must persist in differentiated strategies, and march the path of characteristic development. There is no one model or path for converged media development, different media forms and different media organs must strengthen the extent to which they suit measures to local conditions, explore pluralisation, formulate development strategies suited to the characteristics of each, draft roadmaps and timelines, get onto the path of differentiated converged development as soon as possible, and avoid homogenized, malicious competition.

Third, we must make security into a powerful guarantee for Internet development. Security is the precondition for innovation and the guarantee for development, it is the Internet’s “lifeline” and an indication of core competitiveness. At present, our country’s faces a very severe cybersecurity situation. Up to now, our country has not formed indigenous and controllable computer technology, software technology and electronic technology systems, core technology and crucial services used in important information systems and crucial infrastructure still rely on the outside world. The servers, storage equipment, operating systems and data bases of our government departments and important industries are mainly foreign products, and it is difficult to be optimistic about the cybersecurity situation.

Our country is one of the main victims of cyber attacks, a report from the National Internet Emergency Response Centre indicates that the number of alterations and backdoor attacks against our country’s Internet sites has shown a rising trend for successive years, while government websites have become an important target for attacks. The absolute majority of cybersecurity threats emerge from website information systems and are especially induced by using security leaks existing in systems, some relatively well-known media, finance and payment bodies have become the target of imitation websites, bringing real threats to national information security and financial security.

Grasping indigenous, controllable, secure and trustworthy core Internet technology is the key in realistically guaranteeing cyber and information security, and even national security. In the area of core technology, especially in the areas of chips and operating systems, we must – from the height of safeguarding national security – expand our capability to tackle strategic technological problems, and bring out our own competitive products. Perfect security protection systems, build strong “dikes and dams”, guard “the passes” well, and block “back doors”.

On the other hand, network and information security are not limited to the technical level, they also involve cultural and ideological security, which merit our high attention. The fragmented and high-speed development of network technology has led to major changes in the media structure and the public opinion ecology. All kinds of new technology platforms fostered on the Internet have enabled ever more people to become used to obtaining information through mobile phones and other mobile terminals, new media’s ability to set discussion topics and influence public opinion has progressively strengthened, challenging traditional media’s capacity for public opinion guidance. At the same time, the openness characteristic of the Internet has stimulated the cross-border flow of information, all kinds of ideologies and cultures are interacting, mingling and clashing on a global scale, on a daily intensifying basis. In Internet culture dissemination, we should strengthen our national identification, ethnic identification, political identification and cultural identification, protect our “cultural borders” and defend the country’s cultural security and ideological security.

Fourth, we must make responsibility into an inherent demand of the Internet’s development. The development of the Internet has enriched every one of us, stimulating the Internet’s healthy and sustained development is a responsibility that all walks of society must shoulder. Government controlling departments must take a leading role, and build, manage and use the Internet well, promote the construction of a national network legal system, and strive to build a good ecological environment for the Internet. Internet enterprises shall have a central role, abide by laws, regulations and sector norms, respect social responsibility, observe commercial ethics, move trust-building forward, and provide core competitiveness for the sustainable development of China’s Internet. Sector associations shall play a nodal and promoting role, participate in public service, carry out solid sector surveys and research, unite industrial circles, and launch sector self-discipline activities in a characteristic and influential manner. The broad netizens shall vigorously participate in cyber governance, and must ensure they use the web in a civilized manner, express themselves reasonably, observe the “seven baseline” and vigorously transmit positive energy.

Fifth, we must make the rule of law into a firm basis of Internet governance. On the global level, in the area of governance, through many years of exploration and practice, all countries have shaped management models with law at the basis, which comprehensively use technological, economic, administrative and many other kinds of means. In our country, governing the Internet according to the law is a concrete reflection and demand in the Internet area of ruling the country according to the law.

For many years, our country’s government has persisted in management according to the law, and scientific management of the Internet, it has striven to perfect the Internet management system, and promulgated a series of laws and regulations, which provided norms for the responsibilities and duties of basic telecommunications operators, Internet access service providers, Internet information providers, Internet users and other actors, and provide legal guarantees to build a healthy, civilized, harmonious and orderly network ecology and environment.

But generally speaking, our country’s Internet legislation still faces the problems that it is insufficiently up-to-date, it is not strongly systematized, and the status of law remains relatively low, it is especially so that, following the rapid development of new Internet technologies and businesses, related legal problems have emerged in quick succession, such as difficulties in gathering evidence after netizens’ property rights are infringed, disputes existing over jurisdictional powers in Internet tort cases, difficulties of applicable law in cross-border network crimes, etc. We must integrate the networks’ globalization, virtualization, dynamization and other such characteristics, as well as the newest trends in Internet development, strengthen top-level design, build and Internet legal system, earnestly conduct surveys and research, focus on aspects such as crucial infrastructure, Internet resources, information security, junk information, online copyright, e-commerce, cybercrime and other areas, and timely carry out corresponding legislation and legal revision work.

Comrades, friends! Our country’s realization of the transition from being a large network country to being a strong network country is inseparable from the powerful leadership of the Party and the government, and is inseparable from the joint efforts of the industry and the vigorous participation of all walks of society. The universe is boundless, the Milky Way is resplendent. In a future era when everything is connected, it will be the Internet that connects heaven, earth and humankind, and every one of us will be a weaver of this “web”, let us cooperate in jointly building an even brighter tomorrow for China’s Internet.

Thank you, everyone!

Latest Updates

Monitoring and Evaluation Standards for the Protection of Personal Information by Internet Enterprises (Chinese Law Association on Science and Technology, Peking University Institute for Internet Law, 2014)

Notice concerning Punishing Criminal Activities of Infringement of Citizens’ Personal Information According to the Law (Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, 2013)

State Council General Office Notice concerning Establishing a Leading Group for National Informatization Work (State Council, 1999)

State Council General Office Notice concerning Establishing the State Council Leading Group for Informatization Work (State Council, 1996)

Central Reform Leading Group Approves Media Convergence Plan

On Monday 18 August, the Central Leading Group for the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform – established in the wake of the 18th Party Congress – met for the 4th time. Among the documents it approved is a programme to integrate different media sectors, the “Guiding Opinions for the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media” (关于推动传统媒体和新兴媒体融合发展的指导意见). As is common with this kind of document, these Guiding Opinions have not been published. However, Xinhua today published a short summary of some of the main points:

The “Opinions” point out that integrating news media resources and promoting the converged development of traditional media and new media is an important task in implementing the Centre’s deployment concerning comprehensively deepening reform and moving reform and innovation in the propaganda and cultural sphere forward, and is an important measure to adapt to the profound changes in the media structure and improve the communication strength, credibility, influence and public opinion guidance ability of mainstream media. Converged development ensures that our mainstream media can scientifically use advanced communications technology, strengthen information production and service capacities, even better communicate the voice of the Party and the government, and satisfy the popular masses’ information demands even better.

The “Opinions” point out that in promoting converged media development, we must abide by the laws of news communication and the development laws of new media, strengthen Internet thinking, persist in the correct orientation and public opinion guidance, persist in comprehensive planning and coordination, persist in innovative development, persist in integrated development, and persist in using advanced technology as support.

The “Opinions” point out that, to promote converged media development, we must put technological construction and content construction in an equally important position, we must comply with the mobilization, social mediatization and audiovisualization trends of Internet communications, vigorously use big data, cloud computing and other such new technologies, develop mobile clients, mobile websites and other such new applications and new business models to incessantly raise technological development levels, use new technology to lead the converged development of media, and drive the transformation and improvement of media. At the same time, we must adapt to the communications characteristics of new media, strengthen content construction, innovate newsgathering and editing workflows, optimize information services, and win the development superiority through content superiority.

The “Opinions” point out that, to promote converged media development, we must act according to the demands of moving matters forward vigorously, scientific development, standardized management, and guaranteeing orientations, promote the profound integration of traditional media and new media in areas such as content, channels platforms, operations and management, strive to forge a batch of new-type mainstream media with diverse forms, advanced methods and competitiveness, build a number of new-type media groups having strong force, communication strength, credibility and influence, and shape a three-dimensional, diverse and modernized communications system with converged development. We must grasp convergence with one hand and management with one hand, and guarantee that converged development proceeds in the correct direction from beginning to end.

Media convergence – the ability to access different forms of content through various channels and gadgets – has gained in priority after its inclusion in the Decision on reform that was taken at last year’s 3rd Plenum. In April, Central Propaganda Department director Liu Qibao published a long essay on the topic, while Xinhua released a first annual report on the converged development of China’s new media a few weeks ago.

This convergence policy is a direct consequence of the growth of China’s social media and the development of technology. Throughout the early 2000s, China’s traditional propaganda outlets remained preoccupied with classical media forms, including print and broadcasting, while paying less attention to developing Internet-specific technologies and approaches. But the rapid price drop of smartphones and the expansion of mobile broadband meant that fewer and fewer audiences obtained their information through legacy channels. Furthermore, these new platforms enabled netizens not only to obtain, but also to generate information. This fostered the successive proliferation of Weibo and WeChat, platforms where the government’s voice was relatively absent. Weibo came to public prominence through its role in events such as the 2011 Wenzhou train crash, leading some observers to openly speculate that the Party would no longer be able to control and contain the spread of information.

The Party recognised the impact of social media and the difficulty that it faced in maintaining dominance in the sphere of public opinion, and particularly since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, launched a succession of policy initiatives and campaigns to tame the autonomy of online media and mobilise it for its own purpose. It went after Weibo first: a well-publicised campaigns against “Big Vs” – online celebrities and opinion leaders not affiliated with the state – curtailed political discourse on the platform, chasing many influential voices to the comparatively much more private environment of WeChat. Simultaneously, local governments and departments were encouraged to set up their own Weibo accounts, in order to more closely engage with their populations. More recently, WeChat came into the spotlight: in March, a number of popular public accounts were blocked, while recent new regulations impose real name obligations for all users, and a licensing process for public accounts.

Having largely eliminated the autonomous public voices that Weibo and WeChat rendered possible, this convergence programme now seems aimed to reconstruct public discourse in the Party’s image. This is a multi-pronged initiative, which encompasses news and current affairs, but also central and local government-society communications. The convergence programme seems mainly oriented towards the former, as the propaganda leadership aims to re-establish dominance in the area of news and current affairs, with its traditional content providers – People’s Daily, CCTV and Xinhua – in the lead. These outlets are encouraged to develop interactive and audiovisual content, such as the cartoon about China’s leadership selection process that garnered quite a bit of attention last year, and to create mobile client apps and websites to present their content to audiences in a more attractive manner. The objective: to render a picture of normality that is subconsciously accepted by China’s population, without having to resort to overt indoctrination. As a People’s Daily editorial put yesterday:

Media communication work essentially is the work of creating people’s thoughts. Invisible propaganda is the most brilliant communication. Coercion is ineffective, only by bringing life as the spring breeze and rain, by silently watering everything is it possible to reach people’s hearts.

It is not yet clear how this initiative is supposed to be realised in practice, and the published announcements remain vague in their descriptions of policy measures and specific objectives. It is purported that convergence will result in “a batch of new-type, competitive mainstream media with diverse forms and advanced methods, a number of new media groups that are strong in power, dissemination strength, credibility and influence, and a modern communication system that is three-dimensional and diverse, with converged development”. To this end, reports indicate that the leadership will rely on the expertise in the generation of correct content of traditional media enterprises, as well as the capabilities that private technology and media companies have built up in developing marketshare and creating attractive products for users. In other words, there seems to be a growing recognition that the Party and state do not need to be in charge of the entire value chain, as long as they are able to intelligently use solutions developed elsewhere for their own purposes.

There are indications that this will lead to an approach not too dissimilar to the tack taken to attract foreign technology over the past decades: allowing private players access to profitable markets under conditions where they have to cooperate with state-owned enterprises, for instance in the form of joint ventures. In his April article, Liu Qibao indicated that it would be more efficient for the administration to use existing smartphone technology, social media platforms and app stores, rather than invent its own, which possibly implies greater efforts to co-opt China’s Internet giants into the state-directed system.  The People’s Daily quotes  Yu Guoming, a professor of journalism at Renmin University of China:

Concerning the convergence between the networks of the future and communication media, Yu Guoming said that in the future, mergers between websites and traditional media will become necessary. There are three main points for future development. The first is good content, this is the strong suit of traditional media; the second is technological support, the third is insights into users, traditional media themselves have insufficient insight into the market, and Internet companies are extremely strong, they are the most able to develop the market through big data and many other such methods.

In any case, share prices of state media enterprises have gone up considerably. This is not strange, given the fact that this announcement effectively means that more investment will be poured into central media enterprises, and they will be given privileged positions in important developing information-based markets. One previous example is the People’s Daily Public Sentiment Monitoring Office, which now dominates the highly lucrative market for reports on public opinion. Similar possibilities for other companies are tantalising prospects for investors. For citizens, it signals yet another advance for a technocratic regime that uncannily resembles Huxley’s imagination.

People’s Daily People’s Commentary: Only by Embracing Convergence Can Traditional Media Have a Tomorrow

Li Haoran

News employees can hardly contain their excitement, all kinds of interpretative articles successively “fill the screen”, shares of People’s Daily Online and other media are trading up… As soon as the news that the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform deliberated and passed the “Guiding Opinions concerning Promoting the Converged Development of Traditional Media and New Media” at its 4th meeting was published, it attracted close attention from various circles.

As early as last year, the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress clearly pointed out: “integrate news media resources, promote the converged development of traditional media and new media”. This passing of the Guiding Opinions undoubtedly means a further detailed implementation of the reform deployment of the Plenum. This both lets people see the determination and courage of the Centre in firmly moving forward with real knives and real guns, and gives prominence to how urgent vigorous planning and arranging matters as early as possible is in an ever-changing communication structure. Continue reading

People’s Daily: Telling China’s Story Well in a New Converged Media Structure

This article was originally published in People’s Daily on 19 August

Guo Ping

As the “lowered head tribe” are ambling through the torrent of information, they might not yet have paid attention to the fact that media themselves are seeing a profound change.

From the People’s Daily client coming online ceremoniously to the wind and waves stirred up in a short time by ThePaper.cn, and again to a number of Internet portal websites’ resigning themselves to “also being traditional media” as new media swiftly storm the beaches, the harbinger of media transformation have arrived everywhere already. And the starting gun has officially gone off on 18 August 2014. This day and this year will be written into the annals of history as the first year of converged media development in China. Continue reading

SIIO Spokesperson’s Comments concerning the “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services”

This interview was originally posted on the Xinhua website.

The State Internet Information Office convened a press conference on the 7th, to announce the “Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services” (hereafter simply named “Regulations”), which imposes standards on instant messaging service providers, user services and user conduct, and puts forward clear management demands for engaging in public information service activities through instant messaging tools. To this end, a Xinhua journalist interviewed a SIIO spokesperson. Continue reading

Provisional Regulations for the Development and Management of Instant Messaging Tools and Public Information Services

Article 1: In order to further promote the healthy and orderly development of instant messaging tools and public information services, protect the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations, safeguard national security and the public interest, on the basis of the “NPC Standing Committee Decision concerning Safeguarding Internet Security”, the “NPC Standing Committee Decision concerning Strengthening the Protection of Online Information”, the “Interpretation concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law When Handling Uses of Information Networks to Commit Defamation and Other Such Criminal Cases”, the “Internet Information Service Management Rules”, the “Internet News Information Service Management Regulations” and other such laws and regulations, these Regulations are formulated. Continue reading

Notice concerning Strengthening Education on Ideals, Convictions and Moral Conduct in Cadre Education and Training

Yesterday, the CCP Central Organization Department issued new requirements concerning cadre education. Amongst others, they demand active resistance to Western norms and concepts. The notice has not been made public, the following is a translation of a summary in today’s People’s Daily. 

Yesterday, the Central Organization Department issued the “Notice concerning Strengthening Education on Ideals, Convictions and Moral Conduct in Cadre Education and Training”, which demands that all localities and all departments strengthen education on ideals, convictions and moral conduct, and guide and assist cadres to continuously persist in Communist ideals and faith in Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and continue to hold fast to the spiritual garden of Communist Party members. Continue reading

Rules on the Management of Information from Professional Activities of News Employees

Notice concerning issuance of the “Rules on the Management of Information from Professional Activities of News Employees”

All provincial (regional, municipal” press and publications bureaus, the Xinjiang Production-Construction Corps press and publications bureaus, all Centre and State organs’ ministries and commissions, all democratic parties, all people’s organizations’ newspaper and periodical controlling departments, major central news work units:

In recent years, the phenomenon that news employees abuse information gained during their professional activities has appeared now and then. In some cases, information involving secrets has been wilfully disseminated and spread in violation of secrecy protection laws and regulations, in some cases, information obtained during professional activities has been published on online platforms without authorization, in some cases, unpublished reports of a news work unit have been handed over to other domestic and foreign media for publication, in some cases, news work unit resources have been used to seek improper gain, this disturbs the regular news dissemination order, and harms the interest of the Party and the State. In order to realistically strengthen management over information from professional activities of news employees, on the basis of the “State Secret Protection Law” and other such relevant laws and regulations, SAPPRFT has formulated the “Rules on the Management of Information from professional Activities of News Employees”, these are hereby issued, please implement them earnestly. Continue reading

Pay High Attention to Online Ideological Security

This article by Lieutenant-General Li Dianren of the National Defence University was published first in the Chinese Journal of Social Science, and republished on Seeking Truth online, on 15 June.

Li Dianren

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that cybersecurity and informatization are two wings of one bird and two wheels of one cart, they must be uniformly planned, uniformly deployed, uniformly moved forward and uniformly implemented. In constructing a strong network country, we must, together with strengthening informatization construction and guaranteeing the security of information infrastructure, give high regard to building a social governance system for the network, guarantee ideological cybersecurity, and incessantly strengthen our capacity to protect cybersecurity.

I, We must put safeguarding ideological cybersecurity in an equally important position as safeguarding information technology security. Continue reading

State Council publishes new Copyright Law Revision Draft

On 6 June, the State Council Legal Affairs Office published a new draft to revise the Copyright Law (h/t China IPR). This is the third draft that has been published, reviving an process that had fallen someway out of the spotlight during the turbulent first year of the Xi administration. The State Council is accepting responses and opinions concerning this draft until 5 July. After this, it will conceivably be sent to the National People’s Congress for further reading. I am currently comparing the new version with the second revision draft, published by the National Copyright Administration in 2012, and will publish a full translation and comment in due course. In the mean time, the State Council’s accompanying explanatory document is translated below.

Explanation of the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” (Submission Version of the Revision Draft)

In order to smoothly carry out the revision work of the Copyright Law, the National Copyright Association has established a special “National Copyright Administration Leading Group for Copyright Law Revision Work” and a “National Copyright Administration Expert Committee for Copyright Law Revision Work”, these broadly solicited opinions and suggestions from all walks of society concerning work to revise the law, and have entrusted three education and research work units that are relatively influential domestically in the area of copyright to draft separate expert suggestion drafts for the revision of the Copyright Law. After the first versions of the Copyright Law Revision Drafts were created, the National Copyright Administration solicited opinions respectively from the social public, legislative, judicial and administrative departments, as well as corresponding social organizations, through its official website and special letters, it organized or participated in specific conferences directed at soliciting opinions in specific areas, specific sectors of specific departments, and heard suggestions and opinions in face-to-face meetings with relevant interested subjects. More than a year ago, on the basis of broadly listening to the opinions of the social public and domestic and foreign relevant organs, and through repeated research, analysis and argumentation, it created the “Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China” (Submission Version of the Revision Draft) (hereafter simply named Submission Version”). Hereby, the relevant content from the Submission Version is explained as follows: Continue reading