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China Intensifies Anti-Espionage Measures with New Regulations and Nationwide Efforts

On July 1, 2024, China implemented new regulations clarifying law enforcement procedures for its Anti-Espionage Law, which was revised a year ago. The new rules grant national security agencies permission to inspect smartphones and other electronic devices.

The revised Anti-Espionage Law, effective since July 2023, broadened the definition of espionage and allows for the investigation of activities related to “national security and interests.” Under suspicion of espionage, authorities can examine personal belongings and electronic devices.

China has detained at least 17 Japanese citizens since 2014 under this law, with 5 still in custody. In March 2023, a male executive from Astellas Pharma’s Chinese subsidiary was detained and later arrested in October.

Local governments are also strengthening anti-espionage efforts. Several provinces and municipalities held national security meetings in May and June 2024, focusing on preventing infiltration by hostile forces and enhancing surveillance using big data.

The education sector is increasing anti-espionage propaganda, with national security staff visiting schools to discuss security issues, including risks associated with advanced technologies like AI.

China’s revised law requires citizens to report suspected espionage activities and offers rewards for significant contributions, with some individuals receiving over 100,000 yuan. The country is establishing a mechanism for citizens to expose and report espionage activities.

Source: Nikkei Chinese, July 1, 2024