The legal construction of personal information protection and privacy under the Chinese Civil Code
ساخت قانونی حفاظت از اطلاعات شخصی و حریم خصوصی تحت قانون مدنی چین-2020
Personal information protection and privacy interact in diverse ways, especially in the contemporary information age. Although books and articles have focused on this topic, the new tendencies of worldwide legislation and judicial practice bring challenges, as the legal construction of personal information protection and privacy differs from culture to culture and time to time. In 2017, the General Provisions of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China (“the General Provisions of the Chinese Civil Code” hereafter)1 (expired) addresses the legal concepts of personal information protection and the right to privacy simultaneously, to which this article refers as the dual model, differing from the one-dimensional mode of privacy protection before. Subsequently, the “The Right to Privacy and the Protection of Personal Information,” a chapter of the newly issued Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China’s (“the Chinese Civil Code” hereafter), ascertains the dual model and details related provisions. It has been dubbed a landmark ruling of China’s personal information protection, greatly boosting the modernization of China’s civil system. Despite the many articles that discuss approaches to China’s civil protections, little attention has been given to the fundamental question concerning what exactly encompasses the personal information protection and privacy to which these laws refer. Based on the regulations and applicability of the General Provisions of the Chinese Civil Code and the Chinese Civil Code, this paper explores the legal construction of personal information protection and privacy under Chinese legal orders, including the differences, similarities, and interplay between the two rights. By distinguishing the legal value, contents and remedial approaches, this paper concludes that the two rights are distinct but overlap. On one side, personal information protection is elevated to the status of a separate civil right in the legal context of China, rather than part of privacy. On the other side, tailored regulations should be establish according to the criteria of the nature of information, the extent of information processing, and the elements of damage when confronted with overlaps in the two rights in judicial practice. Thus, this paper provides a perspective from which to clarify the approaches to civil protection of personal information and privacy in China and a reference model for enactment of the Chinese Personal Information Protection Law in the future.
Keywords: General Provisions of the Chinese | Civil Code | Chinese Civil Code | Personal Information Protection Privacy