China: Data Protection Laws of the World Handbook: Second Edition - China

E-Commerce And Privacy Alert


Provisions relating to personal data protection are found in various laws and regulations, but none of the provisions clearly define the scope of privacy rights. The main provisions are found in the General Principles of Civil Law and the Tort Liability Law, which define such rights as a right of reputation or right of privacy. A draft Personal Data Protection Law has been under review by the government for many years, but there is still no indication as to if and when such law will be passed.

The Ministry of Information and Industry of China ("MIIT") has published draft guidelines called the Information Security Technology – Guide for Personal Information Protection ("Draft Guidelines").

In 28 December 2012, the decision on strengthening online information protection (the "Decision") was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC). The purpose of the Decision is to protect internet information security, safeguard the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal entities or other organizations, and ensure national security and public interests. The Decision has the same legal effect as a law.


Under the Draft Guidelines, personal data refers to any data or information in connection with a specific individual, which can be used, separately or in combination with other data, to identify the individual.

Personal data (which is referred to as 'personal information' in the Decision) means any electronic information which can enable you to identify citizen individual identity and relates to personal privacy.


There is currently no definition of "sensitive personal data" within existing or proposed laws or regulations.


There is no national data protection authority in the People's Republic of China ("PRC")


The PRC does not maintain a registration of personal data controllers, personal data processing activities, or databases containing personal information.


There is no requirement in the PRC for organisations to appoint a data protection officer.


Under the Draft Guidelines, data controllers may collect and process personal data when the following conditions are met:

  • laws and regulations explicitly authorise such collection or the data subject consents; and
  • the data controller has a specific, clear and reasonable purpose for doing so.

Before a data controller collects personal data, it should notify the data subject of the following:

  • the purpose, the scope of use and collection methods related to the collecting of the personal data;
  • the name, address and contact information of the data controller;
  • the consequences of not providing the requested personal data;
  • the rights of the data subject; and
  • channels for submitting complaints.

Data controllers are not allowed to collect personal data that has no direct relation with the stated purpose, and in particular data relating to race, religion, DNA, fingerprints, physical condition or sex life.

The data controller should process personal data for the stated purpose and within the scope that the data controller has notified to the data subject. The data controller should take measures to keep the collected personal data confidential during processing and storage of the data. If the data controller uses a third party to process the personal data, they should inform the data subject of this fact prior to collecting the data.

Under the Decision, network service providers and other enterprises may collect and use citizen personal information when the following conditions are met:

  • comply with the lawful, reasonable, necessary principle;
  • specify the purpose, method and scope regarding the collection and use of the citizen's personal information;
  • the personal information subject consents;
  • satisfy the requirements established by the laws, regulations and mutual agreement; and
  • disclose the rules regarding collection and use.


Under the Draft Guidelines, data controllers may transfer personal data to third parties (group companies are considered third parties) if the following conditions are met:

  • the data controller explains the purpose and subject of the data transfer to the data subject;
  • the data subject explicitly consents to such transfer; and
  • the data controller ensures the receiver has the capability to properly process the personal data and that the personal data will be safe during the transfer.

With respect to transfers, there are no specified requirements in the Decision.


Under the Draft Guidelines, data controllers must take appropriate technical and organisational measures against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction of, or damage to, personal data. The measures taken must ensure a level of security appropriate to the harm that may result from such unauthorised or unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction or damage, and appropriate to the nature of the data.

Article 4 of the Decision has the same requirements as noted above.


There is no mandatory requirement in PRC law to report data security breaches or losses to any authority or to data subjects.


According to Articles 9 and 11 of the Decision, failure to comply with these requirements established in the Decision is an offence. Supervisory authorities can take considerable measures to punish or stop these illegal behaviours. Network service providers should cooperate and provide technical support when supervisory authorities perform their duties.

There is no enforcement provision or applicable penalties for non compliance with personal data protection requirements under other PRC laws and regulations.


Under the Decision, any organizations and individuals are forbidden from acquiring personal electronic information by theft or other illegal methods. Also, they are proscribed from selling or unlawfully providing personal electronic information to anyone else.

Network service providers will require users to provide genuine identification information when signing agreements to grant them access to the Internet, fixed-line telephone or mobile phone services or to permit users to make information publicly.

The Decision prohibits any organizations and personnel from sending commercial electronic information to a personal fixed-line telephone, mobile phone or email address without the consent or request of electronic information recipient, or where the recipient has explicitly declined to receive such information.


The Decision indicates that network service providers and other companies should ensure the privacy of personal information. They are not allowed to disclose, falsify, damage, as well as sell or unlawfully provide personal electronic information to anyone else.

Article 5 of the Decision indicates that network service providers should strengthen management of information issued by users. Also, network service providers should stop the transmission of unlawful information and take necessary measures to remove them and save relevant records, then report to supervisory authorities.

Once citizens find network information that discloses their identity or breaches their legal rights, or are harassed by commercial electronic information, they have the right to require that the network service provider delete related information or take measures to prevent such behaviours.

There are specific requirements regarding cookies and location data within existing laws or regulations in the PRC.

© DLA Piper

This publication is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be, and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this publication.

DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm, operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For further information, please refer to

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions