New laws for the technology sector

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Chinese President Xi Jinping asked top leaders to speed up work on new laws for the tech sector during a speech in early December, according to the bimonthly newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

It’s a sign that regulation isn’t going away yet, though the rhetoric covers few new areas and economists expect the worst of Beijing’s crackdown is over, CNBC said on Friday.

China must “accelerate the pace of legislation in the areas of digital economy, internet finance, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, etc.,” Xi said, according to a translation. Chinese text CNBC.

He also called for more laws to ensure national security and urged greater use of the law for “international struggles” – including the fight against foreign sanctions.

But the bulk of Xi’s speech, delivered Dec. 6 to China’s central Politburo of top leaders, focused on broad theoretical points such as not blindly following Western systems.

Over the past year, a succession of new rules aimed at tackling alleged monopolistic practices by tech companies, data security and other issues have shocked global investors. The regulations solve long-standing problems, but their brutality has disrupted businesses and caused mass layoffs.

“We anticipate there will be continued developments in regulations, particularly with respect to technology,” said Mattie Bekink, China director at Economist Corporate Network. She pointed out that Beijing has released plans to build a “socialist Chinese rule of law” by 2035.

“I think the use of regulation as a tool to shape the economy and the society that China wants is not over,” Bekink said.

She noted how law in the West tends to focus on the relationship between individuals and the state, while in China the focus has been on commercial law – the relationship between private sectors and the State.

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