Work on drawing up laws on Internet security in China is being accelerated in an attempt to improve protection and prevent online threats, the nation's top cyberspace watchdog said on Wednesday.
The country already has a series of rules covering the Internet, but some should be upgraded to laws to effectively regulate the online environment and resist cyberattacks, the Cyberspace Administration of China said.
Latest statistics from the country's network monitoring centre show that by the end of October, more than 8.79 million Chinese computers had been infected or controlled by online threats, such as Trojans and botnets.
Of the computers attacked, 8.61 million received threats originating from servers in foreign countries or regions, according to the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team and Coordination Center of China.
Although the number of computers infected in China has fallen since last year, lawmaking related to cyberspace, especially online security, should be speeded up, said Lu Wei, director of the administration.
The quality of some cyberspace laws is low, while some are hard to enforce, which means lawmakers should improve such laws or revise them, Lu said.
Nearly 30 Internet and legal experts took part in a seminar on Wednesday and called for the government to put forward a plan for lawmaking in cyberspace.
Zhou Hongren, deputy director of the Advisory Committee for State Informatization, said, "Attention wasn't paid to legislation relating to the Internet until China received some serious online threats recently, but as we aimed to solve problems in cyberspace, we found laws hard to come by.
"We have some judicial interpretations covering the Internet, but they are far from sufficient," he said.
Zhou also said there is a lack of Internet and legal professionals in China studying international conventions on cyberspace.
"It's good for us to learn from the lawmaking experiences of foreign countries to avoid our legislation becoming out of date," he said, adding that he hopes Internet-related laws can be introduced within five years.
However, Gong Shiyou, an official at the State Council Legislative Affairs Office, said caution is needed when laws are made, especially those involving cyberspace.
"The legislation must be accurate and of high quality. We must ensure that every law is useful and practical," Gong said.
He said some bad online behaviour can be regulated under the current laws, adding that legislative power should not be abused.
Yang Chunyan, deputy director of the administration's cybersecurity bureau, said efforts are being made to push laws covering cyberspace with the cooperation of the legislature, adding that China Cybersecurity Week will be held from Nov 24 to 30.
"We'll invite more than 30 Internet specialists to share cybersecurity knowledge with residents and simulate online attacks during that week.
"This will include how hackers steal personal information and defraud people by installing viruses on users' smartphone apps," Yang said. By June, the number of Internet users in China had reached 632 million, of which 527 million surfed the Internet via smartphones, according to the administration.