Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s digital chief, has expressed concerns over the lack of clarity in Chinese laws, stating that they are fueling anxieties among foreign firms conducting business in the country. These remarks came after discussions between Jourová and Chinese officials about critical areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data governance.
Foreign firms have raised concerns about the unpredictability of regulatory decisions and interpretations of laws by Chinese regulators. Beijing has recently implemented new regulations on cybersecurity, counterespionage, and data management in order to strengthen national security. However, these regulations have left foreign companies uncertain about how their operations will be affected in the second-largest economy in the world.
Jourová specifically highlighted the unclear wording of the laws, such as the lack of definitions for terms like “important data,” and the challenges companies may face when transferring data outside of China. Additionally, she criticized the lengthy procedures foreign firms must go through to conduct business in the country.
During her visit to Beijing, Jourová also raised concerns about the implications of AI on human rights in China’s Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government has been accused of detaining more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
The deteriorating ties between China and the West have led to increased concerns in Brussels about the vulnerabilities posed by AI, misinformation, and data security. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called for the European Union to define its own approach to China, recognizing the need to improve resilience and competitiveness while protecting European interests.
China has pushed back against the “de-risking” strategy advocated by the United States and its European allies. The Chinese government has emphasized that efforts to reduce risks should not target China and instead focus on building mutual trust and cooperation.
Overall, the concerns raised by the EU digital chief highlight the need for clearer and more transparent laws and regulations in China to provide a stable and predictable environment for foreign firms conducting business in the country.
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