Chinese Communist Party official expelled for mining cryptocurrency

Middle Kingdom floats fresh data security rules, too, with eight-hour privacy breach notification requirement

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has expelled a communist party member for allowing cryptocurrency mining to happen, corruption, and other infractions.

A Saturday announcement by the commission stated that Xiao Yi, formerly a member and vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Political Consultative Conference, was stripped of his post and lost his qualifications as a representative to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Some 2,280 delegates attended that Congress.

Yi was found to have taken bribes, abused his position corruptly, and allowed crypto mining.

China has repeatedly banned the use and mining of cryptocurrencies, so Yi should have known his activities were not allowed. The rap sheet the commission put together in its announcement of his expulsion also mentions incidents dating back years, making it unclear if he was punished for recent or past crypto-coin activity.

Whatever his offense, the expulsion sends a message about Beijing’s hostility to crypto-assets.

China’s also again signaled its deep interest in data privacy. On Sunday the nation’s Cyberspace Administration posted a draft of new data security requirements and sought comment ahead of their ratification.

Among the requirements outlined are an eight-hour disclosure time for privacy breaches that impact more than 100,000 people, followed by delivery of an investigation into security breaches within five days.

Internet companies will also be required to retain records of how personal data was used, for five years. User consent will be required before personal information such as biometrics, health records, or religious affiliation is put to work. Parental approval will be required to use data of children aged 14 or younger.

The requirements offer plenty of restrictions on how data can be used outside China. Government approval will be required before info can be shipped offshore, and individuals will need to be notified when their personal information goes overseas.

Chinese companies seeking to list in Hong Kong will need to submit to a security audit before their stock market debut, a notable item as China knows its internet giants need foreign investment but is also wary of outside influence.

All the changes in China have spooked at least one notable investor: Singapore’s Temasek, which has taken a stake in Chinese web giants and in Dell, yesterday told Japan’s Nikkei it won’t invest in Chinese tech companies until it feels more certain about Beijing’s intentions. ®

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