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China Adopts Anti-espionage Regulation Targeting “Hostile Forces”

On April 26, 2021, China’s Ministry of State Security released a new anti-espionage regulation, which was to be effective immediately. The regulation allows the national security authority to draw up lists of companies and organizations susceptible to foreign infiltration, treating a broad range of entities, including potentially universities and private businesses, as if they are sensitive government agencies.

The regulation specifies that agencies, social groups, enterprises, public institutions, and other social organizations are primarily responsible for the unit’s anti-espionage security work.

On April 26, 2021, officials from the Ministry of State Security explained to the press, “Overseas espionage and intelligence agencies and hostile forces have intensified their infiltration into China, with more diverse methods and in broader fields, which pose a serious threat to China’s national security and interests.”

At the same time, “the core and vital areas still have issues such as which organizations bear the primary responsibilities for anti-espionage security and prevention measures that are not institutionalized.”  Officials from the Ministry of State security said that the regulation clarifies “what, who and how” to guard against foreign espionage.

According to the regulation, the Ministry of State Security will provide companies and organizations susceptible to foreign infiltration with work manuals, guides, and other publicity and education materials. The authorities will also issue written guidance, organize trainings, hold work meetings, and supervise anti-espionage work using different methods such as reminders and advice.

Under the regulation, the companies, organizations, or social groups have the responsibility of rolling out detailed measures against foreign espionage. The measures identified in the regulation include arranging their working staff to sign letters of commitment before taking up posts, reporting their activities related to national security, briefing personnel ahead of their trips overseas, and interviewing them after their return to China.

1. People’s Daily, April 26, 2021

2. Xinhua, April 26, 2021