China approves new cyber security laws, critics say it tightens political control

China approves new cyber security laws, critics say it tightens political controlLawmakers in China have passed new legislation which has been criticised by political activists and foreign companies for placing further political control on citizens in the country.

China is well-known for its tight control over internet content in the country, with many websites being blocked due to being "subversive" or "obscene".

The web is promoted as an environment for business and education purposes primarily, and the new laws approved by the National People's Congress obliges companies to enforce censorship and collaborate with state investigations into individual cases.

China has the highest number of internet users in the world, with 710m people currently online.

Representatives from rights group Amnesty International have condemned the legislation, saying that the internet is one of the few places where individuals can express their dissent towards a large audience.

"The new cyber-security law tightens the authorities' repressive grip on the internet," said Amnesty spokesperson Patrick Poon. "It goes further than ever before in codifying abusive practices, with a near total disregard for the rights to freedom of expression and privacy."

Business leaders have also criticised the move from the ruling Communist Party, which comes as it receives increasing challenges to its monopoly.

"We believe this is a step backwards for innovation in China that won't do much to improve security," chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China James Zimmerman told CNBC.
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