21 August 2019
China wants to revise the law to make it more relevant to current national security challenges. Photo: HKEJ
China wants to revise the law to make it more relevant to current national security challenges. Photo: HKEJ

China to revise State Security Law

China’s legislators plan to amend the State Security Law to add more provisions on counter-espionage, Ming Pao Daily reported on Tuesday.

The law, enacted in 1993, will also be renamed Counter-Espionage Law to make it more relevant to the country’s current security challenges, the report said.

Speaking at the opening of the 10th session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress on Monday, State Security Minister Geng Huichang said the renaming means the job description of state security authorities will be changed to counter-espionage.

Geng said a draft of the revised law, which was approved by the State Council during an executive meeting on July 30, aims to put focus on counter-espionage work, upgrade the country’s legal provisions, and make its provisions consistent with other proposed laws.

He said more counter-espionage efforts should be taken as the country faces new challenges, situations and missions. The revised law confirms that all departments related to public security and the administration of secrets as well as the military should fully cooperate to fulfill their assigned duties.

Under the Administrative Compulsion Law of 2012, state security authorities cannot take compulsory measures such as seizing or freezing the assets of suspects. The draft law allows authorities to take such measures under specific situations, the report said.

The revision came after President Xi Jinping, who also chairs the National Security Commission, said on April 15 that a consolidated state security system, which covers different types of security such as politics, land and military, should be built with a general view of state security.

Liu Yuejin, a professor at the Department of Public Management of the University of International Relations, said the current State Security Law no longer reflects reality because much of the actual work of state security agencies is about counter-espionage. He also said the law should be consistent with the provisions of the Constitution as well as the Criminal Law and Secrecy Act.

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