EU-China digital dialogue resumes after three years of Covid interruption

European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova is in Beijing to lay the groundwork for an EU-China bilateral summit this year. It was also an opportunity for the Czech to recall the Union's concerns in terms of digital technology.

EU Commissioner Vera Jourova at EU headquarters in Brussels in November 2020. AP - Virginia Mayo

By: RFI Follow


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With our correspondent in Beijing, Stéphane Lagarde

In the race for data and artificial intelligence between China and the United States, Europe seems to be chasing the fuse.

Vera Jourova's visit to China is there to reaffirm the European Union's digital values. Especially here where European companies are concerned about recent developments in Chinese cybersecurity, data and counterintelligence laws.

Since July, China has banned the transfer of any information related to security and national interests.


The first concern is the lack of clarity on the contours of the law and for example the lack of definition on what constitutes important data, which could pose difficulties for our companies to transfer data outside. " said Ms. Jourova.

Other concerns: the "length of procedures" and the "unpredictability" of the interpretation of the new laws by the Chinese regulator that must be clarified by keeping the channels of communication open, insisted on Tuesday the vice-president of the Commission, the day after this high-level strategic dialogue with Chinese Vice President Zhang Guoqing, in which it was also discussed the disinformation of Russia on Ukraine on the networks social, taken up by Chinese propaganda.


We are overwhelmed by Russian anti-Ukrainian propaganda, denounces Vera Jourova. And we've seen these same stories coming from China to Europe. That's why I mentioned this Chinese disinformation clearly inspired by Russian disinformation.



We have noted with concern that several narratives are being picked up and amplified by the Chinese media. " says the EU representative.

The occasion also recalls that "the way China interacts with the war waged by Russia against Ukraine," says the statement of the European delegation here, "is a determining factor for the future of EU-China relations".

A reminder of principle and European values that also applies to artificial intelligence, whose acceleration requires a multinational framework, says Europeans. "Transparency, security and human rights are the priority triangle we want to promote," Jourova told Chinese partners.

In the traditional conflict between the need to preserve privacy and the security interests of states, the EU focuses on defending the rights of individuals. These priorities were reiterated to students at the Center for AI Governance at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.

" READ ALSO "New silk roads": Europe "does not want to register in opposition to China"

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  • China
  • European Union
  • Diplomacy
  • Digital