BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government is to start cyber security vetting major IT products and services for use by national security and public interests, the State Internet Information Office announced on Thursday.
The vetting is aimed at preventing suppliers from taking advantage of their products to illegally control, disrupt or shut down their clients' systems, or to gather, store, process or use their clients' information, according to a statement from the office.
Companies that fail the vetting will be stopped from supplying products and services in China, the statement said.
Ensuring that IT technologies and cyberspace are "safe and under control" is vital to China's national security, economic and social development as well as people's legitimate rights and interests, said Jiang Jun, the office's spokesman.
"For a long time, governments and enterprises of a few countries have gathered sensitive information on a large scale, taking the advantage of their monopoly in the market and technological edge," he said. "They not only seriously undermine interests of their clients but also threaten cyber security of other countries."
China's government departments, public institutions, enterprises, universities and backbone networks of its telecom firms have suffered extensive invasion and wiretapping, according to Jiang.
Documents leaked by former Central Intelligence Agency contractor Edward Snowden last June rang alarm bells over the cyber security of many countries, the spokesman said, adding that the affair reminded people how crucial cyber security is to national security.
"It shows that without cyber security, there's no national security," he said.
Having the world's biggest number of Internet users, China is duty bound to tighten cyber security measures and make sure security vetting of major IT products is effective, Jiang said.
IT products and services from both domestic and foreign providers will be vetted, said Li Jingchun, chief engineer with National Research Center for Information Technology Security.
"The vetting will focus on IT products and services used in communications, finance, energy and other key industries that concern national security and public interests," Li said, adding that existing products will also be vetted.
A State Internet Information Office official who did not wish to be named said China has been considering this vetting system for years, in which third-party assessors will now be involved.
"Personnel are technologically prepared to carry out the vetting," Li said.
China is not the first country to adopt such security vetting. In 2012, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence conducted security investigation on Chinese IT firms.
The U.S. administration also asks federal agencies to choose cloud computing services from service providers that have passed its security vetting.