Understanding the Far-Reaching Impact of Chinese State Secrets Laws on Data Flow 

China’s far-reaching restrictions on reviewing and transmitting certain types of data present unique complications for companies. In particular, China’s state secrets law is a significant source of complexity for foreign companies and their counselors. How state secrets in China are defined, identified and must be handled create operational challenges for many; the broad definition of implicated information as well as the types of companies that may possess it means that these data flow restrictions impact not only government entities but also many private companies, limiting their ability to move data, even internally. Through advice from several attorneys working in Asia, this article explains the law’s framework, what types of information and entities are covered, as well as the risks at stake. See also “Foreign Business Chambers Sign Open Letter Against Chinese Cybersecurity Regulatory Changes” (Jun. 8, 2016). 

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