ChinAI #209: The Top Ten Events of Internet Governance in China in 2022
Greetings from a world where…
the DC metro is still stunning
…As always, the searchable archive of all past issues is here. Please please subscribe here to support ChinAI under a Guardian/Wikipedia-style tipping model (everyone gets the same content but those who can pay support access for all AND compensation for awesome ChinAI contributors).
Feature Translation: Top Ten Events in Chinese Internet Governance of 2022
Context: Thanks for voting in last week’s Around the Horn issue. I have to admit that I was surprised that this internet governance article came out on top (personally, I was cheering for the pig-butchering scam one); ultimately, however, the people have spoken, and the people want listicles! Caijing Elaw provides a useful recap of ten key events in China’s internet governance, with comments from experts on each event. These are organized by chronological order:
China reaches 200 million flexible workers (e.g., internet streamers, ride-hail drivers). Li Lixing, Peking University professor, comments that protecting the rights and access to public services of these workers is a “prerequisite for China to achieve inclusive growth in the digital economy era.”
Liu Xuezhou’s inspiring story turned suicide: this prompted regulatory authorities to pay more attention to cyberbullying.
Display of account IP address location: Sina Weibo announced on April 28 that it would display the IP address location of users. Afterwards, various platforms also launched similar functions. Zuo Xiaodong, Professor at University of Science and Technology of China, claims: “At that time, some people raised some objections, mainly related to the protection of personal information, but these were limited to the academic level, and some were due to insufficient understanding. It turns out that – as the truth becomes clearer and clearer – this measure is very popular.
First amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Law: This was partly targeted at big tech giants, with a newly added provision that “operators shall not use data and algorithms, technology, capital advantages, and platform rules to engage in monopolistic behavior stipulated in this law, to eliminate or restrict competition.”
Didi fined 8.026 billion RMB: These fines were imposed based on the ride-hailing app’s violation of the Network Security Law and Data Security Law.
“Travel Code App" (通信行程卡) goes offline: On December 13, 2022, China’s travel code app — which collected information on whether a user had been to a high-risk covid area — officially shut down. Cheng Xiao, Professor at Tsinghua University Law School, comments: “With the major adjustment of China's epidemic prevention and control policy, the travel code app’s purpose to process personal information has been realized, and its legal basis no longer exists. In order to fully protect the rights and interests of personal information, the ‘travel code app’ service should of course be offline. In addition, all kinds of health codes issued by local governments based on the needs of epidemic prevention and control should also be offline. They should immediately stop personal information processing activities, and delete the collected personal information in a timely manner.”
The delisting crisis of Chinese concept stocks is temporarily resolved: a positive signs for Chinese companies to list in the U.S. after the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s decision to revoke a three-year timeframe for delisting Chinese companies.
Support platform companies to “show their talents”: more positive signals for Chinese internet platforms at the end of the year at the Central Economic Work Conference.
“Twenty Data Measures” released: one of the measures establishes a “separation of three rights” system for facilitating data circulation, differentiating between data resource holding rights, data processing and use rights, and data product management rights.
China Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) was fined 87.6 million RMB: a very intriguing anti-monopoly case regarding this database on Chinese academic literature, which I frequently use in my own research.
If you want to delve deeper into any of the ten topics, the full translation includes the Chinese title of relevant Caijing Elaw articles — FULL TRANSLATION: Top Ten Events in Chinese Internet Governance of 2022
ChinAI Links (Four to Forward)
Must-read: Generative Language Models and Automated Influence Operations: Emerging Threats and Potential Mitigations
An impressive report that analyzes how language models might shape “influence operations” in the future, including measures taken to mitigate potential threats. Published by a group of researchers from Georgetown’s CSET, OpenAI, and Stanford Internet Observatory: Josh A. Goldstein, Girish Sastry, Micah Musser, Renee DiResta, Matthew Gentzel, and Katerina Sedova.
Should-read: China, a Pioneer in Regulating Algorithms, Turns Its Focus to Deepfakes
Karen Hao, for The Wall Street Journal, reports on China’s new rules on AI-generated content, including a requirement that providers visibly watermark AI-generated content so as to make it easier to track.
Should-read: Manipulating Globalization
In my opinion, this 2018 book by Ling Chen, an Assistant Professor in the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, is one of the best reads on China’s pursuit of indigenous innovation, with particular attention to how China’s push for domestic upgrading plays out at the local level.
Should-read: PKU Economist Yao Yang on US-China Tech War and China's Economy
Thomas des Garets Geddes, former MERICS research fellow, translated a long interview with Yao Yang, a top Chinese economist, on U.S. technological competition with China.
Thank you for reading and engaging.
These are Jeff Ding's (sometimes) weekly translations of Chinese-language musings on AI and related topics. Jeff is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University.
Check out the archive of all past issues here & please subscribe here to support ChinAI under a Guardian/Wikipedia-style tipping model (everyone gets the same content but those who can pay for a subscription will support access for all).
Any suggestions or feedback? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @jjding99