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Concerns Over China’s Newly Passed Anti-Espionage Law

China passed a new Anti-Espionage Law on April 26, which will be enforced on July 1. Epoch Times published an article to analyze the law.

Article 4 defined what is counted as espionage activity. Item 3 broadened it to include “activities conducted, or instructed or financed to be conducted by others, by foreign agencies, organizations, and individuals other than spy organizations and their agents, and activities conducted by domestic agencies, organizations, or individuals in collusion with them, to steal, spy, buy, illegally possess state secrets, intelligence, as well as documents, data, information, and items related to national security and interests, or to instigate, induce, coerce, or buy state employees to mutiny.” This opens the door for the government to claim any foreign organization, company, or individual’s action as spy work.

Article 14 defined “No individual or organization may illegally obtain or hold documents, data, information, or items that are state secrets.” Article 38 defines the authority to interpret “state secrets” is vested in the “confidential department of the state, or the confidential departments of a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government.”

The law also gives the law enforcement agency great power in searching and investigation. Article 24 defined that “State security organs when carrying out the counter-espionage task can show their identify card, and then check the identity card of Chinese citizens or foreign personnel, inquire the relevant individuals and organizations, and inspect the accompanying items of any identity-unknown or suspected individual.” Also, Article 26 and 27 defined that with a district-level (lower than a city) approval, the security staff can search individual’s or organization’s electronic equipment, documents, data, materials, and items.

1. China’s government site, April 27, 2023
2. Epoch Times, May 1, 2023