Counter-espionage mulled

By Yuen Yeuk-laam Source:Global Times Published: 2014-10-28 0:13:01

Bill to set clearer definitions of spying behavior

Chinese lawmakers are mulling revisions to the draft counter-espionage law and set out clear definitions on espionage behavior Monday, with a focus on implementation.

The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee started its second reading of the draft counter-espionage law on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The new counter-espionage law was drafted based on the current National Security Law and is expected to include rules that have been proven effective in practice but have not been written into the current law, according to the Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the NPC.

Sun Baoshu, the committee's deputy director, said it is necessary to transform the current National Security Law into the counter-espionage Law in order to "prepare for a comprehensive and fundamental State security law."

Foreign organizations and individuals who conduct espionage activities or who instigate and sponsor others in conducting them will be punished, as well domestic organizations and individuals who spy on the country for foreign organizations and individuals, according to the bill.

"Every country should have clear regulations on their counter-espionage Law and espionage behavior in order to facilitate counterespionage work. It also helps increase the transparency of their work," said Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

It also bans illegally possessing special espionage instruments. In order to prevent improper law enforcement, the draft says that whether something is considered an instrument of espionage should be confirmed by State security departments according to regulations.

The stipulation was added after lawmakers suggested that electronic devices like smart phones can also be used in espionage.

In August, a Canadian couple who ran a coffee shop on the Chinese border with North Korea was detained on suspicion of stealing military secrets and intelligence information, and for threatening national security.

Another spying case also broke out in May. Gao Yu, a 70-year-old former journalist, was detained for leaking State secrets to foreign contacts. She is suspected of illegally obtaining a highly confidential document and sending it to an overseas website in June last year which later became widely circulated on foreign websites.

Analysts agreed that the bill was a necessary decision to improve the rule of law in counter-espionage as part of a broader security framework raised by the Communist Party of China's National Security Commission (NSC). The NSC, announced in November 2013, is headed by Xi Jinping, who is also head of the State, the Party and the military.


Posted in: Politics, Law

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