National and local rules forging fresh regulatory environment

(China Daily)      Updated : 2023-01-11

While national-level legislation involving emerging industries is currently being promoted, local regulations to help solve problems in new sectors have been formulated in recent years, according to official reports.

Last month, an annual report on the rule of law in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, showed that the formulation of rules overseeing emerging industries was made a top priority last year by the Shenzhen people's congress and its standing committee, the local legislative body.

In response to people's concerns about the protection of personal information and the development of the digital industry, the legislature produced a data regulation that restricted the processing of biometric data and regulated the use of services that employ facial-recognition technology, which could pose security risks.

Although it strengthens data security monitoring and allows people to initiate public-interest lawsuits if they discover that their personal information is being used improperly, the regulation also requires the reasonable use of public data to promote the growth of the digital industry.

After some disorderly conduct involving bike-sharing services, the Shenzhen legislature made a regulation that imposed certain provisions on the total number of bikes offered, operating models, service charges, parking and maintenance to help ensure the healthy development of the industry.

The standing committee of the Shanghai people's congress, the city's legislative body, has also attached importance to dealing with problems related to new businesses through the formulation of regulations, according to a report by the Shanghai Observer, a local news outlet.

In 2021, the city's legislature passed the country's first provincial-level data regulation, providing legal support for data-driven innovation and the urban digital transformation, the report said.

Last year, the legislature began formulating a regulation on advancing the development of artificial intelligence in order to make Shanghai a global hot spot for AI, it said.

Meanwhile, according to the bureau of justice in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, a guideline to improve the quality of service for express delivery and postal businesses came into effect in the city in November to ensure that parcels are delivered in an orderly, efficient way, especially during online shopping galas.

It revealed that about 30 percent of legislative items promoted in the city last year focused on emerging businesses, noting that relevant industry surveys and studies have been conducted by lawmakers and government departments.

The authority praised the achievements of people who provide internet-based services — such as those who work with online food orders, goods delivery and ride-hailing platforms — but it pointed out security risks and responsibility loopholes in those fields, adding that they would not help to promote the industry's development or protect employees' legitimate rights.

In addition to local and regional legislative bodies, the Supreme People's Court, China's top court, has stepped up efforts to provide stronger protection for people who work in new industries.

In July, the court said it had started drafting judicial interpretations on handling civil disputes involving emerging businesses.

Early last year, it also issued a guideline on the resolution of cases concerning online purchases, clarifying that consumers can ask for internet platforms and sellers to be held accountable if the items they buy through livestreamed promotions are of poor quality or prove to be problematic.

To clean up the online consumption environment and guarantee the healthy development of livestreaming, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the nation's top internet regulator, said in 2021 that such businesses should open channels to allow people to report violations and also establish blacklists to stop violators starting similar businesses again.

Zhao Zhanling, a lawyer with the Yunjia Law Firm in Beijing, applauded the closer scrutiny and joint efforts to regulate new businesses such as livestreaming, adding that their futures depend on whether risks, problems and irregularities can be identified and combated in a timely manner.

He said the strict implementation of laws and regulations is a necessity, and suggested that more entities, including government departments, judicial agencies and social organizations, join a supervisory team to strengthen the regulation of emerging industries.