China cybersecurity plan aims to protect state secrets: Official paper

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China will prepare a five-year cybersecurity plan to protect state secrets and data, the official China Daily said on Thursday, citing a senior official of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Such a plan could add to the challenges of foreign technology firms doing business in the world's second-largest economy, by prompting government agencies and companies to opt for domestically-made software.

The plan will focus on improving security for software used by government departments, state-owned enterprises and financial institutions, the paper quoted Chen Wei, the director of the ministry's software bureau, as saying on Wednesday.

Mr Chen did not provide details of the plan, it added. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Beijing has recently bolstered legal protection of its information technology, after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that US spy agencies planted code in American tech exports to snoop on overseas targets.

China's draft national security law posted online this month called for cyberspace "sovereignty" and was reviewed to include powers dealing with "harmful moral standards".

In February, Reuters reported China had dropped some of the world's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase list, while approving thousands more locally made products, in what some said was a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance.

China's bank regulator temporarily suspended bank-technology guidelines in April that would have effectively replaced foreign tech products with domestic alternatives, following feedback from banks and an outcry from foreign governments and business.

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