China’s NPC passed the General Provisions of the Civil Code on March. Highlights are as follows:

  • Article on personal information protection: There is a new article in the draft which provides legal protection on personal information stating that any organization or individual shall ensure that the collection of personal information should be in accordance with the law, and the personal information shall not be used, processed or transmitted, sold, offered or disclosed illegally. Violators should bear the compensation for losses and other civil liabilities.
  • An official recognition of privacy in the civil code again shows the emphasis on legislature in this area. This will build some foundation for private companies to use civil lawsuits to protect their privacy. Corporations need to be more vigilant about legal risks of personal information disclosure and related controversies, including in trading with third-party companies. In the Sina vs Maimai(脉脉) lawsuit, the Beijing Intellectual Property Court made a final verdict that Maimai should compensate Sina for obtaining Sina users’ personal information without Sina’s authorization. Sina was not sued by any of its users, but there remains such legal risk.