As of March 15, Internet companies in China should be better protected from unfair and anti-competitive business practices than they have been in the past. The country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released new rules this week that will go into effect in March.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the rules prevent companies from "interfering with the legal rights and interests" of other ISPs. For instance, disrupting services from another company is prohibited, as is suspending a user's service without reason, or changing a user's settings without consent.
In a statement, ministy inspector Li Guobin said:
Competition in Internet information services is getting more intense each day and illegal incidents are gradually rising.
The new rules are designed to combat those incidents. The rules also provide some protection for user information. What that protection will look like is unclear, but the fact that China is even attempting to protect user information is quite a shift from the status quo. Maybe the difference lies in the fact that the companies to which these rules would apply are not state-owned.