China's banking regulator last week temporarily suspended controversial cybersecurity rules demanding technology vendors hand over their source code to the state, exposing the practical challenges of the nation's campaign to cut dependence on foreign technology.
In a notice reviewed by Reuters, Chinese regulators said the decision on the rules, which would have effectively replaced foreign tech products with domestic alternatives, came after "financial institutions in the banking industry and related parties put forward opinions for improvements and proposed changes".
A nonprofit group developing tools to get around Chinese online censorship says the Chinese government is behind a recent attack that sent a flood of traffic to its site and services. China is effectively using the national firewall in place to censor the Internet for Chinese residents to weaponize the browsers of millions of global Internet users, according to GreatFire.
China's cyberspace administration is "complicit" in attacks on major Internet companies including Google, an anti-censorship group said on Wednesday, calling on firms worldwide to step up their defences.
GreatFire.org, which operates websites seeking to circumvent China's vast censorship apparatus, pointed to statements by Google, Microsoft and Mozilla as showing the Chinese government was involved in so-called "man-in-the-middle" operations.
Chinese regulators summoned bank officials for a meeting this month to stress the need to carry out a nationwide directive to cut China’s reliance on foreign technology, said people familiar with the matter.
In the Jan. 15 meeting, the China Banking Regulatory Commission suggested lenders not buy new mainframe computers in 2015 and draft plans to replace the ones they now have, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private. A senior CBRC official said in November banks rely on foreign brands for 80 percent of their core servers and systems.
China dismissed U.S. President Barack Obama’s concerns that new security laws would require foreign companies to open backdoors to their networks, saying the U.S. and the U.K. have long sought the same access.
“Many Western governments, including the governments of the U.S. and the U.K., have for many years asked technology companies to disclose their encryption keys,” Fu Ying, spokeswoman for China’s National People’s Congress, said Wednesday in Beijing. “This step is aimed at preventing and investigating terrorist activities.”