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April 25, 2017

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China’s mapping law up for revision

CHINA’S lawmakers are considering revising the surveying and mapping law to protect geographic information security and raise public awareness of national territory.

An amended draft was submitted to legislators for a second reading at the bimonthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which runs until Thursday.

The revisions deal with the use of safe, reliable technology and equipment, managing navigation and positioning reference stations and the supervision of Internet mapping services, said Xie Jingrong, a vice chairman of the NPC’s law committee.

Violators could face fines up to 1 million yuan (US$145,000) or have their business licenses revoked and could face criminal charges. Foreign offenders could be deported.

The revision has become more pressing as some clauses do not address current problems, such as the leaking of information of Internet map service users, due to new business models that include bike-sharing services.

The bike-sharing system allows riders to locate the nearest bicycle through an interactive map, rent them by scanning a QR code, and leave them wherever they finish.

In order to allow everyone to use maps that represent China’s territory correctly, the draft law says regulations on mapping should be followed in formulating, publishing or exhibiting maps. Internet map providers should use maps authorized in accordance with the law and protect the integrity of mapping data, it states.

According to the draft, those responsible for the production and use of geographic information, as well as Internet mapping service providers, should abide by laws and regulations when they gather or use personal information.

It suggests raising awareness of national territory should be included in middle and primary school curriculums.

The law was formulated in 1992 and amended for the first time 10 years later.

Foreign organizations or individuals that carry out surveying and mapping activities without cooperation with China’s relevant departments will face fines up to 1 million yuan or criminal charges, the draft says.

The fine for those who release geological data without authorization about territory administered by the government will face fines of up to 500,000 yuan, compared with the current ceiling of 100,000 yuan.

Revision of the surveying and mapping law began last year.


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