The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed on Friday a decision strengthening the protection of online information. Some people, most of whom frequently express opinions online, are opposed it. We hope this new legislation will dispel these doubts, and form an understanding among the public that it will help promote the healthy development of the Internet.
Overall, the Chinese Internet is free and responsible, but also has moments of chaos and illegal activity. Infringements upon people's rights and privacy can easily be found on the Internet. The new legislation, in this regard, is likely to become a turning point in terms of online regulation. Most of its 12 articles respond to the high expectations of the public for changes to the Chinese Internet.
Of course, there are concerns. Despite its chaotic nature, the Internet has been playing a role as a supervisor of the government from the bottom up. As a truly effective and tough supervision mechanism has yet to be formed within the system, supervision from the Internet is important to make up for it. This is a huge contribution the Internet has made to
In reality, there is no crackdown on the public's supervision via the Internet, because this wouldn't help
But meanwhile, we cannot simply cover up all the problems of the Internet just because it dares to criticize. There is urgent need for the Internet to have order, and this cannot be achieved through moral self-discipline only, but requires assistance from the law.
Getting rid of negative factors should be the only intention behind legislation to better regulate the Internet. The legislation aimed at protecting the safety of personal information online meets the interests of a majority of people, and a civilized society should not have knee-jerk reactions based on assumptions.
As for the government, it should make down-to-earth efforts to implement the decision, and allow people to understand the strengthened safety of their information either online or on their mobile devices. As soon as this sense of safety is formed, it will guide the overall feeling toward the legislation. It, in the end, will add to the public's trust in the government, and all those earlier criticisms will disappear.
The government, in the meantime, should encourage criticism from the Internet, and ensure they avoid the possibility of individual government officials taking advantage of this legislation to crack down on critics. In that case, the authority of this legislation will be severely damaged, and will likely to create new crisis for the government's image.