Official disputes pledge claims

Updated: 2015-09-19 17:19

(Global Times)

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A senior official on Friday disputed a report in The New York Times that China has urged US tech companies to comply with China's control over cyberspace.

The New York Times cited three unnamed people, claiming that the Chinese government issued a document to certain US tech firms earlier this summer and asked the companies to promise "they would not harm China's national security and would store Chinese user data within the country."

The report, titled "China tries to extract pledge of compliance from US tech firms," was published on Wednesday.

The official of a related government department who asked for anonymity told the Global Times on Friday that it was an "inaccurate report."

The newspaper also cited one of the people with knowledge of the letter as saying that the document was sent by the China Information Technology Security Evaluation Center, "most likely under pressure from China's main Internet regulator."

The report claimed that the wording in the pledge was similar to that in China's National Security Law adopted in July and that refusing to sign the pledge "could bring fresh restrictions or penalties for companies in China's enormous market."

The official told the Global Times that the "pledge" is in fact a letter sent by the China Information Security Certification Center (CISCC), which is a separate body from the China Information Technology Security Evaluation Center, to solicit opinions from Chinese and foreign companies.

The New York Times report originally said the letter had come from the CISCC.

He pointed out that the suggestions in the article about when and where the government might expect a response were pure speculation.

The New York Times report said that while it was unclear, the Chinese government may expect some sign of response from those tech firms at a tech forum in Seattle between China's top Internet regulator, Lu Wei, and tech companies including Apple, Facebook, and IBM during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the US next week, or at an Internet conference later in the year.

According to the National Security Law, China will make Internet and information technology, infrastructure, information systems and data in key sectors "secure and controllable."