China's top legislature vows rule of law to defend national sovereignty, security
Country will continue improving legislative process in related areas: experts
Published: Mar 08, 2024 06:36 PM Updated: Mar 08, 2024 11:30 PM
rule of law (file photo) Photo: VCG

rule of law (file photo) Photo: VCG

China's top legislature vowed on Friday to use rule of law to solve disputes involving foreign-related affairs, and will resolutely defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests. Experts believe that defending national safety and sovereignty has increasingly become an important part in pushing for rule of law in China, and the country will continue improving legislature process in relative areas. 

China's national lawmakers on Friday started deliberating a work report of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. Zhao Leji, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, delivered the report at the second plenary meeting of the second session of the 14th NPC.

This year, the tasks will include expanding and deepening the proactiveness, pertinence, and effectiveness of the NPC in external exchanges, better serving China's major country diplomacy with its own characteristics, and engaging in multi-level, multi-channel, multi-field, and multi-form exchanges and cooperation with foreign parliaments, said Zhao.

He vowed to actively and effectively promote China's path, system, ideas, propositions, and achievements to the outside world, use rule of law to conduct combats involving foreign affairs, and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests.

Procurator-general Ying Yong also delivered a report at the second plenary meeting, in which he said to resolutely safeguard national security, social stability, and people's well-being, and strictly punish crimes that endanger national security, serious violent crimes, major drug crimes, and serious economic crimes in accordance with the law.

Ying vowed to strengthen foreign-related prosecutorial work and resolutely defend the country's sovereignty, security, and development interests.

Through these reports, we can see that legislation on safeguarding national security and sovereignty has become a very important component of comprehensively advancing rule of law in the country, Li Wei, an expert on national security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. 

Last month, Chinese lawmakers voted to adopt a revised Law on Guarding State Secrets at a session of the NPC Standing Committee, to take effect on May 1. In April 2023, Chinese lawmakers voted to adopt a revised Counter-Espionage Law, which refines the definition of espionage, specifying acts such as carrying out cyberattacks against state organs, confidential organs or crucial information infrastructure as acts of espionage

Experts believe those legislature changes were promoted by new round of technological revolution, and challenges posed by adversaries

For instance, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recently said in an article that it has committed substantially more resources toward China-related intelligence collection, operations and analysis around the world, more than doubling the percentage of its overall budget focused on China over the last two years.

In the future, laws related to social security in the field of national security, as proposed by the overall national security concept will continue to be constantly improved, said Li. 

Zhao said in his report that in 2024, efforts will focus on advancing the modernization of the national security system and capabilities, with the formulation of laws for managing emergency events and energy, as well as amendments to the National Defense Education Law and Cybersecurity Law.

Laws protecting national security in the future can also involve safeguarding the security of Chinese institutions and citizens overseas, said Li, noting that while regulations such as consular protection already exist in this regard, it may be worth considering elevating this to the level of law. Especially in the context of advancing the Belt and Road Initiative, where there are various risks and challenges, it is important to legislate for better cooperation in this area.

Western media also started new rounds of hype on China's recent legislature moves on safeguarding national security, said it raised risks for foreign business.

In response, Lou Qinjian, spokesperson for the second session of the 14th NPC, said on Sunday that the anti-espionage law does not target normal activities such as business transactions, scientific research cooperation and academic exchanges.

We oppose the distortion of the anti-espionage law to smear and undermine the domestic business environment in China, said Lou.

In fact, many countries have either their own anti-espionage laws or laws on guarding state secrets. Western media is distorting the concept by including normal commercial trade activities in espionage and intelligence activities, according to Li.