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China mulls counterespionage law

Xinhua, October 27, 2014 Adjust font size:

China's top legislature started reading a draft Counterespionage Law on Monday aimed at more comprehensive state security.

Formerly known as the National Security Law, the draft Counterespionage Law is expected to include new counterespionage rules that have been proven effective in practice but not been written into the current law, according to the Law Committee of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

Sun Baoshu, the committee's deputy director, said it is necessary to transform the current National Security Law into the Counterespionage Law in order to "prepare for a comprehensive and fundamental state security law."

According to the draft, "Counterespionage work should proceed according to law, respect and ensure human rights, and guarantee the legal interests of citizens and organizations." The provision was added based on suggestions from lawmakers and experts on regulation of counterespionage power.

Information and material obtained for counterespionage work should only be limited in the field, and confidentiality should be ensured regarding state and commercial secrets and personal privacy, the draft says.

The draft also rewrites articles that were not in line with other laws that have been revised in recent years, including the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law.

Foreign organizations and individuals who conduct espionage activities or who instigate and sponsor others in conducting them will be punished, as will domestic organizations and individuals who spy on the country for foreign organizations and individuals, according to the bill.

Taking effect in 1993, the National Security Law mainly regulates the work of the country's national security agencies, whose major duty is counterespionage. It has not been revised since then.

Once the Counterespionage Law takes effect, the National Security Law will cease, according to the draft.

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