The National People’s Congress has tightened anti-espionage legislation to cover anything that authorities say affects state security and to grant new search and seizure powers. File photo Stephen Shaver/UPI | License photo
April 27 (UPI) — China has expanded its espionage and national security laws to cover anything that authorities say affects national security, giving authorities new search and seizure powers.
The update, which also covers cyber attacks, was passed by the National People’s Congress, Beijing’s parliament, on Wednesday, with the new provisions set to take effect on July 1.
The law now includes bans on individuals from leaving or entering the country, and cybersecurity provisions prevent the identification of weaknesses in China’s network.
It also expands the already amorphous category of “state secrets” to include handling any document, data or material related to national security without knowing what is legal or illegal.
Wang Ali, director of the Criminal Law Bureau of China’s Legislative Affairs Committee, said the legislation now more clearly defines what constitutes espionage and lays out what is required of enforcement agencies.
The amended law comes after US consultancy Bain & Company confirmed that Chinese police raided its Shanghai offices two weeks ago and questioned employees and seized phones and computers.
“We are cooperating properly with the Chinese authorities,” a company spokesman told the BBC.
Last month, five local employees were detained in a raid on the Beijing office of American corporate due diligence firm Mintz Group after officials closed the office.