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Protection of personal data urged

CHINESE law makers and political advisers have called for legislation to protect citizens' personal information.

Their call came just days after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, approved a criminal law amendment banning government and corporate employees with access to personal data from selling or leaking such information.

But for some, the amendment doesn't go far enough. Xu Long, a deputy to the NPC, called for a privacy protection law which would appoint a special administration responsible for personal information safety. The law should also specify compensation for damage caused by the leaking of personal information, Xu said.

A lack of rules to protect personal information has led to widespread harassment in China.

An online survey last year showed that nearly 89 percent of 2,422 people polled had suffered anonymous messages, phone calls and spam after personal data had been leaked.

Zhu Zhengfu, a lawyer from Guangdong Province and a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body, backed Xu's call by telling of his own experience.

"I registered some of my personal information when I bought and insured a car," Zhu said. "Ever since, when the insurance nears renewal, I would receive dozens of calls trying to sell me insurance, and they knew everything about my car, my plate number, even my address."

The criminal law amendment did not clearly define "personal information," Zhu said. A privacy protection law, or a legal explanation to define personal information was a top priority.


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