[JURIST] The National People’s Congress of China [official website] on Saturday passed a new counter-espionage law in an effort to strengthen national security. State media reported [Xinhua report] that the new law will allow authorities to seal or seize any items or other properties linked to any acts of espionage. The enforcement of the law will be carried out by China’s national security agencies and judicial system in an effort to investigate and prevent attacks. However, the new law specifically stipulates that the “counterespionage work should proceed according to law, respect and ensure human rights, and guarantee the legal interests of citizens and organizations.” Information seized from the new law will remain private in an effort for agencies to maintain confidentiality when sifting through information. The new law also bans the use of any espionage instrument which lawmakers have stated includes electronic devices such as cell phones.
Chinese national security has been an issue within the international community recently. China’s leadership has sought to ease public concerns and maintain stability in light of recent violence. In August Chinese officials in the western region of Xinjiang executed [JURIST report] eight individuals charged with terrorism- and separatism-related crimes. Also that month a “terror group” was arrested [BBC report] in Xinjiang with more than one ton of material for explosive devices. And earlier in August 31 people were killed, and more than 90 injured, when two cars drove through a busy street market in Xinjiang, setting off explosives [Guardian report]. In April both a bombing and a knife attack [CNN report] occurred in the South Railway Station of Urumqi.