Data Protection and Privacy in China - March 2012

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China does not currently have a comprehensive legal framework to regulate the use and disclosure of personal data or a national level law that delineates how a company can legally collect, process and retain personal data. However, there are important rules scattered in diverse laws, regulations and local ordinances that should be considered when doing business in China.

The right to privacy is upheld in principle by the PRC constitution and Civil Law Principles. The PRC Constitution provides that a citizen’s personal dignity is specifically protected as a fundamental right. Although the Constitution has yet to define what constitutes personal dignity, most Chinese legal scholars take the view that personal dignity should include certain privacy rights. Despite the fact that the term “privacy” is referenced in certain PRC laws and judicial interpretations, the scope of privacy protection (including the right to restrict public access to personal information) has not yet been expressly codified or addressed in detail by the PRC courts.

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