The report looks into the implications of the restructuring of the Central Commission for Cybersecurity and Informatisation, responsible for ensuring security and promoting Chinese government interests in cyberspace and the digital economy.
“Both the creation of the original leading group and its upgrade to commission status reflect an urgent priority among the senior leadership to settle turf battles among actors such as the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and the Ministry of Propaganda. CAC emerged as both an interagency body and a power center of its own, and its elevation suggests it will have more influence. For instance, CAC is likely to play a stronger role protecting China’s “critical information infrastructure” and directing its technical censorship apparatus via the Great Firewall, while other key players will likely focus their efforts more narrowly. MPS will likely focus more on fighting cybercrime, protecting critical infrastructure via its multi-level protection scheme compliance framework, and regulating illegal virtual private networks (VPNs). MIIT will remain the lead for industrial standards and telecommunications infrastructure, and the announcement establishing the Commission specifically emphasizes MIIT’s continued role. Thus, a strengthened CAC still lacks absolute power, and mandates still overlap,” writes Xiaomeng Lu.
Read the full paper here.