Report: China Congress Eyes E-Commerce Law

HONG KONG (03/07/2000) - The Third Session of China's Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, which began meeting this week, is considering a motion for a broad e-commerce law that would govern security, taxation, and establishment of an electronic payment system, according to the official People's Daily newspaper.

The motion, presented yesterday by NPC deputy Zhang Zhongli of Shanghai, calls for setting up an appropriate legal environment for the growth of e-commerce in China. It says that will require rules on intellectual property rights, Internet access, protection of data, and security from hacker attacks, according to the People's Daily report. The law would also cover protection of data and the responsibilities of Internet service providers.

Various agencies of the Beijing government recently have issued edicts on control of state secrets, which would put the onus on users and Internet service providers to prevent sensitive information from being disseminated inside or outside the country, and on the use and sale of data encryption products.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin opened the congress last weekend with an address that spotlighted the Internet as the key economic opportunity and military threat in coming years, according to news reports.

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