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Security officials release anti-espionage regulations

By ZHANG ZHIHAO | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-04-27 07:24

The Ministry of State Security issued new counterespionage regulations on Monday, effective immediately, to bolster China's ability to prevent and thwart spying by overseas intelligence entities.

Overseas intelligence agencies and hostile forces have recently intensified their infiltration and espionage in China, deploying a wide range of methods to steal secrets from a growing number of sectors, which poses a serious threat to national security and interests, a senior ministry official told Xinhua News Agency.

Some core areas of the country have vulnerabilities including a lack of accountability and insufficient anti-espionage measures. As a result, the regulations assign specific responsibilities and protocols to various entities for countering espionage activities, the ministry said.

Party and State organs, social groups, enterprises and public institutions should assume the duty of educating their employees and preventing spying within their agencies, the regulations said. National security authorities will also regularly adjust the list of key entities that should be protected against espionage activities.

The regulations clarified the award criteria for participating and assisting State security agencies in fighting espionage, with the goal of encouraging the public to safeguard national security. The official said state security authorities hope to organize all facets of society to jointly deter espionage and other actions that undermine national security.

On April 15, China celebrated its sixth National Security Education Day with special prominence as it was the first of its kind since the National Security Law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was enacted last year.

As a result, State security authorities released details of four recently solved cases of foreign espionage that reflected a troubling reality: foreign hostile forces have been using social media to instigate young adults in their 20s to collect sensitive information, produce and disseminate anti-China propaganda online and organize illegal activities.

One case involved a 22-year-old journalism school student studying in Hebei province. The student, surnamed Tian, was contacted by Western media operating in Beijing to collect derogatory information about China for money. He later submitted over 3,000 portions of documents to foreign entities and published over 500 articles.

Spreading rumors

In 2018, Tian launched a website on an overseas server dedicated to spreading political rumors and anti-China propaganda. He traveled abroad in April 2019 to connect with over 20 hostile foreign organizations, and was arrested two months later. Tian was put on trial in November.

Two cases involved Chinese mainland college students surnamed Yang and Chen, both about 25 years old, who were brainwashed by hostile foreign forces during their time studying at Hong Kong universities.

They disseminated a massive amount of false information on social media and online chat rooms attacking the local police and Beijing's handling of the monthslong demonstrations and riots in the city. State security authorities questioned Chen in May and arrested Yang in June.

Both confessed their wrongdoing and promised to refrain from any activities that would undermine national security.

Hu Yufen, a Party official from the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, said in a speech during National Security Education Day that it is every Chinese citizen's duty to safeguard national security.

"Teenage students, being the most energetic and proactive demographic, should be the centerpiece of national security education," she said.

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