back to article China proposes ‘Global Initiative on Data Security’ forbidding stuff it and Huawei are accused of doing already

China has proposed a “Global Initiative on Data Security” that it hopes the world will adopt to govern the collection and use of data by governments and the private sector alike. The code was revealed today in a speech by state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi at an event called the International Seminar on Global …

  1. Joe W Silver badge

    Judical assistance

    But his sixth point, the call to “Meet law enforcement needs for overseas data through judicial assistance or other appropriate channels” is tricky given it could impinge on sovereignty.

    Among many countries this is already a possibility. When you need access to data there is a process to go through, involving judical oversight (probably and hopefully) in both countries. So I do not see these issues as impingeing in souvereignity, at least not more than what is currently done among several countries already. There is even a process between the EU and the US, which the US now unilaterally replaced by the CLOUD act. Data could be requested already before, but these requests had to pass through the other country's judical system, which the US of course does not like - they make the rules, and everybody is subject to them (and woe betide those that investigate war crimes allegedly[*] commited by US soldiers).

    [*] innocent until proven guilty etc., but we all know the reports, ffs, people even openly admitted these!

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      Re: Judical assistance

      The OECD has been promulgating as from several decades ago what has already acquired its own acronym : "AEOI" viz. Automatic Exchange Of Information. Almost all countries have signed up. The Tax Office in one territory may send a request to the Tax Office in another territory regarding presumed Miscreant X and the second territory may use all its powers of investigation against X as if he is a local taxpayer (which he may be but not necessarily).

      You can challenge the actions locally but this can kick off with a simple letter from Tax Office 1 to Tax Office 2.

      And of course not just tax.

      There is no privacy any more.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Judical assistance

      If both countries have independent judiciaries and strong Rule of Law, no problem. But China has neither, and may never given the party's willingness to ruthlessly do anything to maintain power.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Judical assistance

        The poor quality (as measured by things we consider important) of other legal systems (China and the US both are obvious examples) is exactly why that principle is important: all international law enforcement requests must be managed by judicial processes in both countries, under formal treaties, allowing challenge in courts on both sides. Not by, for example, laws from one country requiring companies in its jurisdiction to make available data about people in other countries and bypassing their own domestic courts.

  2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    "Oppose using ICT activities to impair other States' critical infrastructure or steal important data"

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, *choke!*, HAHAHAHAHA ... oh, wait. You're serious???

    1. Danny 5

      It's a shame we can't post pictures, there's a great one from Futurama that would've fit perfectly here.

      It's the one where Bender laughs in Leela's face, stops and ask "Wait, you're serious?" "let me laugh even harder!"

  3. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Ingenuous stance

    This is the same ingenuous stance Russia takes: they propose to keep certain treaties in tact whilst they themselves have no intent on keeping by the rules. Their intention is to weaken their adversaries this way.

    China is probably hoping to avert the collapse of Huawei with this proposal, which is probably one of the attached strings.

    Simply ignore these moves by China and Russia and move on.

    1. PhilipN Silver badge

      ".. keep certain treaties in tact .."

      That's very diplomatic of them.

    2. You aint sin me, roit

      So you don't want data security?

      The initiative is all about making the Chinese look good and the Americans, when they inevitably refuse to sign up, look bad.

      At which point the Chinese say "So what part of data security do you object to?".

      Quickly followed by telling the rest of the world that it's obvious that the US can't be trusted, and the NSA abuses US citizens' rights.

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: So you don't want data security?

        The Russians are currently talking up the Outer Space Treaty (which prohibits the weaponization of space) whilst at the same time testing satellites with offensive capabilities.

        The Russians tried to keep the USA to the INF whilst at the same time developing and fielding missiles which clearly violated this treaty.

        Are we seeing a pattern here?

        The Chinese are doing the same thing here: trying to negotiate a treaty on cyber warfare they have no intent on keeping and violating almost on a daily basis. All the while they'll keep the US and its allies to this treaty.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ingenuous stance

      Yeah let's put all all trust in USA!

      1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Ingenuous stance

        I'm not saying I agree with everything the US does, but the Americans guarantee our most precious good, namely our SECURITY.

        Without the US nuclear umbrella we would constantly being threatened and harassed by the Russians and Chinese.

  4. Danny 5


    If you believe that, I have a great pyramid sche.. ehr.... great opportunity for you to make money!

  5. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Item 1?

    What does the first item on the list actually mean?

    "1. Approach data security with an objective and rational attitude, and maintain an open, secure and stable global supply chain"

    As for the PRC promoting ICT security, well, everyone is in favour of that, but who believes that any state actually practices what they preach on this subject? Respecting other states' sovereignty is all very well, until you reckon that there is information they have which would protect your sovereignty. The USA is quite adamant in declining to join the ICC, because it would mean USA soldiers could be prosecuted for 'war crimes' in a court outside the control of the USA Supreme Court.

    I can only assume it is some sort of PR event by the Chinese until they prosecute a Chinese company for helping the Chinese Communist Party obtain data from a foreign entity without the foreign state's approval.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Item 1?

      I don't think that item has anything to do with courts. It is pretty clear what it means: as a principle, global supply chains shouldn't be dragged into arguments about security in an irrational way.

      I assume it is one of the biggest wins China would like to see from this initiative: it wants to protect its economic position as the world's leading supplier of manufactured goods and reduce the disruption to that from politics. Especially, of course, from Trump.

      Seems a fair point, although the rest of the world (as purchasers of these things from China) would certainly want to see some movement from China in return. That is probably why they had to introduce the rest of the points.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, errors occurred while scanning a photocopy of the official statement though the translator

    For DO read DO NOT and vice versa

    Easy mistake to make and we hope this hasn't caused any confusion

  7. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    I think we all got the message wrong: The Chinese government is saying the most secure network are the ones by Huawei.

    Just sayin'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spying on me would be of no interest to the Chinese.

      I don't trust our government, with it being run by unelected power hungry bureaucrats, or the USA run by Trump.

      Sorry, Cisco, and other Western companies, but "Huawei" you go. I'd rather use my Huawei devices than your NSA hacked kit.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

        "Spying on me would be of no interest to the Chinese."

        "Spying on me would be of no interest to the Chinese."

        "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." - Edward Snowden

        1. Alister

          Re: "Spying on me would be of no interest to the Chinese."

          That's not a fair comparison.

          The UK and US can materially impact my life by spying on what I do online. the Chinese government, not so much.

          I too would rather be spied on by the Chinese than by the US.

          1. DavCrav

            Re: "Spying on me would be of no interest to the Chinese."

            "I too would rather be spied on by the Chinese than by the US."

            No problem as long as you love Big Brother. But once you start to be a dissident, you had better hope your employer has no relationship with China, for example. And you don't want to travel anywhere within kidnapping distance of China.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "I too would rather be spied on by the Chinese than by the US."

            Are you sure? A classic way of espionage is to blackmail someone after obtaining info about someone that one doesn't like to be known by others.... or they can gather information about you and use them to obtain useful intel to be used for other attacks....

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Spying on me would be of no interest to the Chinese."

            You should visit both countries, call the leaders of each country derogatory terms on that counties popular social media. And see which one sends you to a re-education camp, if you are that lucky.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Spying on me would be of no interest to the Chinese."

        It would be of interest to *everyone*, including the Chinese.

        That weird porn you consulted yesterday, care to see me send it to your wife ? 200 USD to not do it, please. My bank account details will follow via PM.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    The goals are good but this, like the US CLOUD Act, like most statements from Xi, Trump, and other heads of state, like all statements from intelligence services, are propaganda.

    All governments will always ensure that their intelligence services can get the data they want.

    Same as it ever was.

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Credit where credit is due

    Oppose using ICT activities to impair other States' critical infrastructure or steal important data.

    Hmmm? I suppose that is the best that can ever be done seeing as how it is impossible to stop and prevent. And it delivers to those gratefully engaging those expert in the field such an overwhelming advantage ..... leading edge.

    However, it is not necessarily always a bad thing if one knows what needs to be done to ensure it is always a good thing and one knows how one can easily seriously punish those doing any bad things and render them practically impotent and personae non grata everywhere/anywhere.

    Nevertheless, bravo China. Half the battle in winning is knowing what needs to addressed and/or attacked, and a comprehensive list suggests a mighty big picture play being deployed.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Credit where credit is due

      "Nevertheless, bravo China." Seriously? If you really believe *anything* that the Chinese government says publicly, then you are a mug.

  10. a_yank_lurker


    Are the trade war with Trump and Covid-19 actually causing problems for China? It seems like there are many reasons to be distrustful Beijing as their recent antics have not inspired confidence about their willingness to obey their international treaty obligations. Plus Xi seems to bent on involving China in numerous shooting wars and open rebellions at the same time (India, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, etc.), not exactly a wise policy when your neighbors and their friends do not trust you. Also, I am not so sure the timelines for repatriating/moving manufacturing could not be accelerated if there was a political will to really do so.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "at least if western intelligence agencies are to be believed."

    "Western"? I was unaware there was a single consensus there. And if that meant "US", thanks for the laugh, they even lie to their own Congress about the spying they do on their own citizens.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      That's a given, but the article is about China, and we all know we can trust China, don't we?

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "China did not assign the enunciation of this idea to a lowly functionary"

    There's nothing to stop anyone in this position becoming a lowly functionary at very short notice. That isn't unique to China. Just ask Philip Hammond or any of the others effectively thrown out of the party by BoJo. Or any of those exiting the revolving door ot the Trump administration.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The more effective option would have been to offer to share whatever information Huawei, Tik Tok etc have with the US providing the entity is is torn up. I'd guess a quick acceptance which should tell anyone in doubt about US motives all they need to know.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "oppose abusing ICT to conduct mass surveillance against other States"

    What about oppose abusing ICT to conduct mass surveillance inside your State?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is not what the PRC agrees to on paper....

    If you read the PRC constitution, it sounds pretty pluralistic and democratic. But if you look at the reality on the ground, all the fine words are thrown over because some mid-to-national level official wants this factory built, that neighborhood cleared so it can be redeveloped, those motorcycles banned, that polluted creek ignored, and nobody who actually stands up to these officials ever gets anywhere other than prison. And this mindset permeates into a lot of the Chinese business sector, where your Chinese partner or counterparty often ends up knifing you and falling back on friendly local/provincial/national officials who protect them from the resulting complaints and charges.

    1. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: The problem is not what the PRC agrees to on paper....

      The Chinese communists are all crooks.

      And the irony is that they steal from their own people and then flee China to the West with their family and settle here and enjoy our freedom and human-rights protections.

      We should deny anyone remotely involved with the Chinese Communist Party and their family members to settle or hold possessions in the Western world.

  16. mego


    It's not like China has laws on the books that requires it's citizens to assist in spying on the west. Oh wait, they do.

    It's not like China conceals anything it feels like even if impacting the world, disappearing people who don't comply. Oh dear, COVID-19 concealment anyone?

    It's not like China has no respect for online privacy. Oh wait, no that's not true.

    It's not like China doesn't support copyright and digital rights. Oh wait, while not the only ones, that's not a facet of China.

    I'm not sure I understand what China has to offer on this one... and whether or not I trust any technology or solutions they propose as a result; since they definitely won't comply themselves if there is any concept of privacy or individual security. And for another thing, given how the world is suffering with COVID-19 right now, I'll be fine if China falls into obscurity. You don't screw the world over and presume we've all forgotten about it just because you wish it were so.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Sure...

      I would have up-voted you multiple times for this.

  17. lglethal Silver badge

    I notice that none of these rules stop China from abusing their own citizens as much as they like. Only other nations citizens are discussed.

    So this is just a continuation of China's normal policies which are that other nations should butt out of their own business. Human rights? China has heard of them. They're something that happens elsewhere.

    *cough*Xinjang*cough*Tibet*cough*Hong Kong*cough

  18. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "China hopes the world will adopt"

    Well let's start by seeing China adopt them.

    It's a bit rich to see China proposing such rules, it is guilty of infringing every single one of them.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Mahhn

      Re: 1962 rebooted

      "China is now countering"

      Dude, you do not know history. China has never made a secret of their plans for taking over the world. They will do it by Economics as far as they can, then,,, well, they are almost ready to take on every country with their military now, production has been ramping up for 20+ years. They do have some cool new military subs, ships and islands in the last 5 years. That were in the planning stages 15+ years ago.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    maintain an open, secure and stable global supply chain.

    China has got to be joking right now!

    China is the #1 offender in supply chain hacks.

    There are millions of Android phones out there that are tainted with pre-installed malware and rootkits because of China and the CCleaner and Shadowpad backdoors.

    (Okay, China might be #2 in this game)

  21. AdamWill

    I for one

    Well I for one am convinced and would like to sign my country up. Right after we get done signing off on this CIA initiative against interfering in the politics of Latin America...

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