China’s state security authority refutes hypes of phone checks at border
Published: May 28, 2024 12:18 PM
Spy Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's Ministry of State Security issued a bilingual article on Tuesday, refuting claims hyped by certain overseas anti-China forces that travelers will be subject to phone checks at the Chinese border as absolutely preposterous. The ministry also emphasized that checks upon entry will only be conducted under specific circumstances, with specific targets and procedures in accordance with laws.

The ministry recently issued two provisions on the procedures for administrative law enforcement, and for criminal case administration of state security organs, which will come into force on July 1, 2024. The new measures have received wide public attention and positive feedback, being viewed as a significant step forward in the legal foundation for stronger national security, the ministry said in the article.

However, some overseas hostile anti-China forces are spreading false information about Chinese regulations regarding mobile phones to slander and discredit China. These claims are baseless, and represent the stereotypical self-mirror imaging of "measuring others with one's own yardstick while framing the righteous," the ministry said.

Individual Western countries have been accused of practicing double standards and politicizing legal instruments, leading to incidents of unwarranted harassment and interrogation of Chinese citizens, arbitrary detentions in the "dark rooms," and forced "inspection of phones."

In certain countries, customs and border departments have specifically issued regulations, claiming that they can arbitrarily demand people to give up their passwords and inspect or even confiscate electronic devices without acquiring approval.

These unlawful enforcement practices have become harmful obstacles to state-to-state and people-to-people exchanges, serving as evidence of discrimination against Chinese and Asian ethnic groups.

"Those with ulterior motives, afraid of the severe consequence of jeopardizing China's national security, can but sling mud at China's law enforcement agencies like a thief donning a judge's robe," the ministry said in the article.

China's Constitution and laws explicitly stipulate that no organization or individual may infringe upon citizens' freedom and privacy of communication for any reason except for appropriate legal reasons or procedures.

China's Counter-espionage Law and Criminal Procedure Law, as the upper-level laws of two departmental regulations, respectively make authorized provisions for the administrative law enforcement and criminal investigation powers of the national security organs, according to the ministry.

The newly revised Counter-espionage Law allows state security organs to lawfully inspect electronic equipment and facilities in order to prevent, stop, and punish espionage activities. The legislation aims to combat threats to national security posed by espionage.

Inspections for counter-espionage purposes must be conducted lawfully and cannot be done arbitrarily or in unrelated situations. The targets must be individuals or organizations related to counter-espionage work, such as suspected spies who take pictures or videos in military restricted areas or classified units. 

Inspected subjects cannot be unrelated individuals, let alone average travelers, the authority noted.

It also has specified inspection procedures, including approval for inspection that must be obtained from the head of a national security organ at the municipal level or above.

The state security authority vowed to strictly implement the law enforcement supervision system and strengthen the law enforcement supervision mechanism.

Global Times