The United States expressed concern about the Chinese call to encourage its citizens to join counterintelligence efforts and stated that it has been closely monitoring the Xi Jinping regime’s law enforcement against espionage.
China’s Ministry of State Security said Tuesday that Beijing should encourage its citizens to engage in counterintelligence, including setting up channels for Get people to report suspicious activity and reward them for doing so.
According to the Ministry, a system must be established that makes it “normal” for civilians to participate in counter-espionage.
This occurred after the expansion of China’s anti-espionage law that came into force in July and prohibits the transfer of information it deems related to national security. This alarmed the United States, which warned that foreign companies in China could be punished for normal business activities.
“We are concerned, of course, encouraging citizens to spy on each other is very worrying”, stated the State Department spokesman, Matt Milleron Wednesday in a daily press conference.
“We are closely monitoring the implementation of China’s new anti-espionage law, which, as currently written, greatly expands the scope of activities that are considered espionage,” Miller said. And he added: “In addition to being concerned by these new reports, we continue to concerned about the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention in China.”
In recent years, the Xi Jinping regime has detained and imprisoned dozens of Chinese and foreign nationals suspected of espionage, including an executive from Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma in March. Australian journalist Cheng Lei, accused by China of providing state secrets to another country, has been detained since September 2020.
Beijing’s declaration that it is threatened by spies comes at a time when Western nations, most notably the United States, accuse the Asian giant of espionage and cyberattacks, a charge the regime has denied.
The US State Department issued a warning last month suggesting US citizens to reconsider their trips to China continental due to “risk of wrongful detention”.
“There is increased official scrutiny of US and third-country companies, such as due diligence and professional services firms, operating in the PRC,” the Washington notice noted. He added: “Security personnel could detain US citizens or subject them to prosecution for conducting investigations or accessing publicly accessible material inside China.”
Recently, at an internal meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Chairman Xi Jinping He warned of growing national security concerns amid geopolitical tensions and urged officials to prepare for “the worst and most extreme scenarios.”
In the expansion of its Anti-espionage Law, approved in 2014, China also stresses the responsibilities in the “precautions against espionage” that state institutions must have, which must carry out “an anti-espionage education” and “effectively increase public alert” against such activities.
Wang Aili, director of the Criminal Law Department of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee, explained that the law reform “adheres to a problem-solving approach” and “expands” the categories of objects whose theft will be classified as “theft of secrets”: added the terms “documents, data, materials and articles related to national security for your protection”.
The law appears to be an effort to provide a legal basis for punishing any individual or organization that threatens China’s interests, which may include any move it suggests “deespionage” either “disassociation”, at least according to the rhetoric of the state media in recent days.
The law has also been interpreted as a measure to provide a legal framework for the worldview of Xi Jinpingas it embraces two of its flagship foreign policy initiatives: The Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative.
The experts agreed that the Ambiguous language of the legislation would be open to interpretation on a case-by-case basis and could threaten the activities of foreign journalists and businessmen in China. In other words, the lack of a clear definition of what documents, data or materials could be considered relevant to national security poses significant risks for citizens and companies living in China. This was warned by Cedric Alviani, from Reporters Without Borders, who considered that the text covers “basically any type of information”
The law was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress last June, just days before the 102nd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party.
For their part, foreign companies have warned that the new law may increase the risk that people will receive arbitrary bans on leaving the country. A study cited by Safeguard Defenders found that 128 foreigners, including 29 Americans and 44 Canadians, were issued exit bans between 1995 and 2019. “China has broadened the legal landscape for exit bans and has increasingly used them, sometimes without legal justification,” the office said. NGO in its latest report.
In any case, the American president, Joe Biden, hopes to meet with Xi Jinping in “the near future” to try to resolve various conflicts. In an interview in July, the Democratic president declared that the Asian country “is changing at the moment” and that although it has “enormous capacity”, it also has “enormous problems”. And he noted that although he is aware that the Chinese president wants to replace the United States as the country with the largest economy and military capacity in the world, both nations can have a good relationship.
(With information from South China Morning Post and agencies)
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