China's telecoms regulator plans to tighten web controls even further, by setting up a new inter-departmental commission to vet internet services and hardware.
The controls will include security reviews and checks to ensure that data is stored on servers in China. The rules will also involve the establishment of an inter-departmental body to coordinate policies nationwide, to ensure that they are enforced.
It is feared that the controls won't just hinder the adoption of new internet-based technologies, but will be used as a tool to shut out foreign competition from the Chinese market.
The proposals were issued over the weekend by the Cyberspace Administration of China. It claimed that they would improve online security and that the vetting procedures would "assess whether products such as servers or internet services could be hijacked by an outside party, and the privacy of users compromised", according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
In addition, operators of "critical internet infrastructure" that "could involve state security" would only be allowed to use approved products and services.
Zuo Xiaodong, vice-president of the China Information Security Research Institute and an adviser on internet policies told the SCMP that the plans were aimed at internet infrastructure companies, rather than ordinary users.
"Many countries screen information products and services because of security concerns, though they might not call it censorship," said Zuo, although Huawei was able to supply BT's 21st Century Network infrastructure development, albeit following vetting by GCHQ.
The proposals are just the latest in a string of measures unveiled by regulators in China in the year of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, a Party conference that only happens once every five years and which sees power reshuffled among the politicians and functionaries who govern the country.
It comes just two weeks after China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology declared that all unauthorised VPN services - ie: ones without backdoors that the government can use to tap communications - are illegal, unless explicitly authorised by the appropriate authorities.
"China's internet connection service market… has signs of disordered development that requires urgent regulation and governance," Wen Ku, director of the telecoms department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at the time.
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