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China’s Legislature Approves Cybersecurity Law to Tighten Control on Internet Use

Chinese leaders promote internet use for business and education but try to block access to material deemed subversive or obscene

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A woman uses her smartphone near a booth promoting cloud services during the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, China. VOA
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Beijing, November 8, 2016: China’s legislature approved a cybersecurity law on Monday that human rights activists warn will tighten political controls and foreign companies say might hamper access to Chinese technology markets.

Chinese authorities say the law is required to prevent crime and terrorism. It also prohibits activity aimed at “overthrowing the socialist system,” a reference to challenges to the ruling Communist Party’s monopoly on power.

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Chinese leaders promote internet use for business and education but try to block access to material deemed subversive or obscene. The country has the biggest population of Internet users at 710 million, according to government data.

The latest measure approved by the National People’s Congress requires companies to enforce censorship and aid in investigations and imposes standards for security technology. It tightens controls on where Chinese citizens’ data can be stored.

Human rights groups complain it will extend controls on a society in which media are controlled by the ruling party and the internet has provided a rare forum for individuals to express themselves to a large audience.

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

Passage of the law comes amid a crackdown on dissent under Communist Party leader Xi Jinping in which hundreds of human rights activists and legal professionals have been detained or questioned.

A coalition of business groups warned in August the latest proposed measures might limit access to China’s market for security technology in violation of Beijing’s World Trade Organization commitments. Business groups have complained Beijing increasingly is using regulation to try to squeeze foreign competitors out of promising industries.

“We believe this is a step backwards for innovation in China that won’t do much to improve security,” said James Zimmerman, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, in a statement. He said it will “create barriers to trade and innovation.”

The law’s requirements for national security reviews and data sharing will “unnecessarily weaken security and potentially expose personal information,” said Zimmerman. He said some measures “seem to emphasize protectionism rather than security.”

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Chinese authorities cite the need to protect banks and other industries. But officials of Chinese industry groups quoted in the state press have said previous restrictions on use of foreign security technology also were intended to shield the country’s fledgling providers from competition.

Computer hacking is a chronic source of tension between Beijing and Washington. Foreign security researchers point to China as a major source of hacking attacks aimed at stealing trade secrets. In 2014, American prosecutors charged five Chinese military officers with hacking and economic espionage against six U.S. companies.

Chinese authorities deny they encourage hacking and say their country is a victim of cyberattacks.

On Monday, a Chinese official defended the law and rejected suggestions it was meant to keep out foreign vendors.

“Any company that wants to come in, as long as they obey Chinese laws, serve the interests Chinese consumers, we welcome them to come in, and to prosper together,” said Zhao Zeliang, director-general of the cybersecurity bureau of the Cyberspace Administration of China, at a news conference.

Business groups say a provision requiring security technology to be “secure and controllable” might require providers to tell Chinese authorities how their products work, raising the risk trade secrets might be leaked.

The coalition in August said the proposed measures did nothing to improve security and might weaken data protection.

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Zhao tried to quell concern about the “secure and controllable” passage, saying criticism of it was based on “a misunderstanding, a bias.”

“Our requirements have been consistent: Vendors must not use their position as service providers to get user information or data,” he said. “Vendors cannot use their positions to illegally control and damage systems. Vendors must not harm fair competition or consumers.” (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)