China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (SNPC) Wednesday passed revised amendments to the nation’s anti-espionage laws. The amendments are added to the Counter-Espionage Law of the People’s Republic of China of 2023. They are the first amendments to China’s espionage laws since 2014.
Under previous law, threats to national security covered state secrets. However, the new provisions broaden the scope of foreign espionage to encompass any action, document, data or material which may be considered a threat to national security by state authorities. The reforms also expand the duties of law enforcement personnel in countering espionage activity, and the definition of spying has been amended to include cyberattacks.
The reforms follow Chinese President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on strengthening national security. Accordingly, Article 1 of the Counter-Espionage Law states, “This Law is enacted in accordance with the Constitution in order to strengthen counter-espionage work, prevent, stop and punish espionage, maintain national security, and protect the interests of the people.”
The amendments will go into effect in July 2023.