China Launches Initiative to Set Global Data-Security Rules

HONG KONG—China is launching its own initiative to set global standards on data security, countering U.S. efforts to persuade like-minded countries to ringfence their networks from Chinese technology.

Announcing the initiative on Tuesday at a Beijing seminar on global digital governance, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cited growing risks to data security and what he characterized as efforts to politicize security issues and smear rival countries on technology matters—in an apparent swipe at Washington.

To counter such challenges, “it is important to develop a set of international rules on data security that reflect the will and respect the interests of all countries,” Mr. Wang said, according to a transcript of his speech published by China’s Foreign Ministry. The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Beijing planned to unveil the initiative.

Beijing’s initiative comes amid heightened tensions with Washington over issues including trade and technological competition, which has raised the specter of an increasingly bifurcated internet.

In recent months, the Trump administration has taken steps to curtail what it describes as national-security threats from Chinese tech firms like Huawei Technologies Co. and popular Chinese apps including ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok and Tencent Holdings Ltd. ’s WeChat. Chinese officials, meanwhile, have accused the U.S. of imposing a double standard and of trying to sabotage the efforts of Chinese businesses to expand.

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