December 30, 2022
BEIJING – Those found to be providing cybersecurity loopholes or other information involving critical information infrastructure to espionage organizations will be identified as spies, according to a draft amendment.
“This has been added to the draft to clarify the definition of espionage because lawmakers and individuals working for central and local authorities pointed out that theft or attacks over a network have become a new norm of espionage,” said Wang Ning, an official from the Constitution and Law Committee at the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.
He explained the contents while introducing the draft revision to the Counter-Espionage Law on Tuesday, as it was submitted to the ongoing session of the NPC Standing Committee for a second review.
In general, a draft becomes law after it is read by the top legislative body three times.
Given that espionage is also harmful to society, the draft amendment states that those found providing spies with help, be this in the form of information, funds, supplies, labor, technology or locations, will first be warned or given administrative detention of up to 15 days by State security departments.
They may also be fined up to 100,000 yuan ($14,400), either separately or in addition to the above punishments. If those found guilty have made profits of over 100,000 yuan, they will face fines up to 10 times the amount.
To support counterespionage activities, the draft offers rewards to individuals or departments that contribute to the fight against spying.
The draft encourages technological innovation in the fight against espionage, calling for national security departments to pay greater attention to training to improve counterespionage abilities.
“The revision to the law implements the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and also helps safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests,” Zang Tiewei, spokesman for the NPC Standing Committee’s legislative affairs commission, said on Monday.
He noted that the draft will help enhance public awareness of maintaining national security and build a strong public defense line against behavior that is harming the country.
Prior to this review, the draft revision was read by the top legislature in August.