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New Implementation Rules for the Counter-espionage Law Released

On 6 December, the State Council released the Implementation Rules for the Counterespionage Law that had come into force earlier in November 2014. The new Rules significantly enhance the powers of the State Security, which had already gained significant clout under the original legislation. In particular, Article 8 grants the State Security the power to investigate acts of subversion that are not necessarily related to espionage, including situations involving ‘fabricating or distorting facts, publishing or disseminating text or information that endangers national security, or creating, transmitting, or publishing a/v products or other publications that endanger national security’; ‘using religion to carry out activities endangering national security’; and ‘foreign individuals [violating] the relevant provisions, not [heeding] discouragement, and, without authorisation, [meeting] with mainland persons who have conduct endangering national security or who are strongly suspected of having conduct endangering national security’. Article 6 also expands the concept of ‘funding’ espionage to include providing funding to those who engage in espionage even if the money is not used for that aim and the funder is not aware of the illegal conduct. This significantly reinforces the hand of the State Security in dealing with activists and NGOs working in politically sensitive areas, and also serves to intimidate their foreign donors. IF

(Sources: China Law Translate 1; China Law Translate 2; South China Morning Post 1; South China Morning Post 2)

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