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Sunday April 14, 2024

China broadens law on state secrets to include ‘work secrets’

By REUTERS
March 01, 2024
Chinese President Xi Jinping stands by national flags in Berlin on March 28, 2014. — AFP File
Chinese President Xi Jinping stands by national flags in Berlin on March 28, 2014. — AFP File

BEIJING: Chinese lawmakers have expanded Beijing’s state secrets law for the first time since 2010, widening the scope of restricted sensitive information to “work secrets” according to a full text of the law published online, state media reported.

China’s top legislative body passed the revised Law on Guarding State Secrets on Tuesday and it will take effect from May 1, Xinhua reported.

Analysts say the expanded law is further evidence of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s increased focus on national security which has already led to a wide-ranging update to Beijing’s anti-espionage law last April that some countries fear could be used to punish regular business activities.

Raids last year by Chinese police on several management consultancies, including Mintz Group and Bain & Co., have raised concerns among the foreign business community in China, and a Japanese pharmaceutical executive has also been detained in Beijing on espionage allegations since last March.

State secrets currently involve areas ranging from government and Communist Party decision-making to military and diplomatic activities, as well as economic development, science and technology.

The update to the state secrets law requires government agencies and work units to protect pieces of information “that are not state secrets but will cause certain adverse effects if leaked”.

It added that rules on the specific management of work secrets would be released separately, without giving a date.