China approves spy law as Xi focuses on national security
China approved a newly revised anti-espionage law as President Xi Jinping seeks to bolster national security amid a range of tensions with the United States.
The law was approved during a Standing Committee meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Wednesday, and will take effect on July 1, according to a notice on the NPC website.
Mr Xi has used his decade in power to emphasise security concerns as friction with the US increased over issues including Taiwan, the treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and, more recently, China’s tech ambitions.
In an address to a major Communist Party congress, Mr Xi mentioned “security” more times than “economy” – the first time that has happened in the key policy statement since the party took power in 1949.
China has also stepped up arrests of foreigners suspected of spying. In March, China detained an employee of Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma on suspicion of espionage. Five Japanese nationals have been found guilty by China of endangering national security since 2015, according to the Mainichi newspaper.
Beijing and Washington have sparred over claims of cyber snooping, with China becoming more direct in naming American agencies as perpetrators. The US has blamed China for widespread industrial espionage to “ransack” American companies, in addition to national security-related operations.
Mr Zang Tiewei, a spokesman for NPC’s legislative affairs commission, said at a news briefing last week that the existing legal definition for espionage activities was “too narrow” and prevention measures were insufficient.
Mr Zang Tiewei, a spokesman for NPC’s legislative affairs commission, said at a news briefing last week that the existing legal definition for espionage activities was “too narrow” and prevention measures were insufficient. The Straits Times
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