Interpretation clarifies personal data issues


On 8 May 2017, the PRC Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued the Interpretation of Various Issues Concerning Application of Law in Handling Crimes of Infringing upon Citizen’s Personal Data, which provides more detailed guidelines for handling criminal cases involving infringement of personal data.

Unlike many other countries, China does not have a comprehensive personal data protection law. There have been some regulations issued by various governmental bodies to address data protection issues, which have not been well enforced due to the lack of significant punishment for offences. The Criminal Law, amended in 2015, provided a general definition for the “crime of infringing upon citizen’s personal data”, but left some issues for the personal data crime interpretation to clarify.

Under the judicial interpretation, an individual’s name, ID card number, telecommunication contact details, address, account password, wealth status, geographic tracking records and other information that can identify the individual, or reflect the individual’s progress of activity, are defined as “personal data”.

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Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Baker McKenzie. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice. You can contact Baker McKenzie by e-mailing Danian Zhang (Shanghai) at: