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Counter-espionage Law

Title: Counter-espionage Law of the People's Republic of China 
Promulgating Entities: Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
Reference number: 
Promulgation Date: 2014-11-1
Expiration date: 2023-07-1
Source of text:

Xinhua News Agency Wire: Beijing, November 1 -

Counter-espionage Law of the People's Republic of China

(Adopted at the 11th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People's Congress on November 1, 2014.)

Table of Contents

Chapter I: General Provisions

Chapter II: Functions and Powers of State Security Organs in Counter-Espionage Efforts

Chapter III: The Duties and Rights of Citizens and Organizations

Chapter IV: Legal Liability

Chapter V: Supplementary Provisions

Counter-espionage Law of the People's Republic of China

Chapter I: General Provisions

Article 1: This Law is formulated on the basis of the Constitution so as to prevent, stop and punish espionage conduct and maintain national security.

Article 2: Counter-espionage efforts follow the unified leadership of the central authorities, and adhere to the principles of combining open and secret works, combining specialized efforts and the mass line, active defense, and punishment in accordance with law.

Article 3: State security organs are the competent authorities in charge of counter-espionage efforts.

Public security, secrets administration, and other relevant departments and relevant military departments are to follow their professional divisions of labor, closely collaborate, strengthen coordination, and do their work well in accordance with law.

Article 4: Citizens of the People's Republic of China have a duty to preserve national security, honor and interests; and must not endanger national security, honor or interests.

All State organs, armed forces, political parties and public groups, and all enterprises and organizations, have the obligation to prevent and stop espionage activities and maintain national security.

State security organs must rely on the support of the people in counter-espionage efforts, mobilizing and organizing the people to prevent and stop espionage conduct threatening state security .

Article 5: Counter-espionage work shall be conducted in accordance with law, respect and protect human rights, and protect citizens' and organizations' lawful rights and interests.

Article 6: Acts of espionage endangering the PRC's national security that are carried out, instigated, or funded by foreign institutions, organizations, or individuals, or that are carried out by domestic institutions, organizations, or individuals colluding with foreign institutions, organizations, or individuals; must be legally pursued.

Article 7: The state provides protection for organizations and individuals who support and assist counter-espionage efforts and gives rewards to those who make a major contributions.

Chapter II: Functions and Powers of State Security Organs in Counter-Espionage Efforts

Article 8: In counter-espionage work, state security organs carry out investigations, detention pre-trial and enforcement of arrest as well as other powers granted by law.

Article 9: When employees of state security organs are performing tasks in accordance with law, and follow provisions in presenting the appropriate identifications, they have the right to examine Chinese citizens' or foreigners' proofs of identifications; and question relevant organizations and individuals on relevant circumstances.

Article 10: When state security organ personnel are performing tasks in accordance with law, they may follow provisions to present the appropriate documents to enter relevant venues; and on the bases of relevant national regulations, and upon approval and presentation of appropriate documents, they may enter relevant restricted regions, venues or units, to inspect, read or collect relevant archives, materials or items.

Article 11: Upon presentation of appropriate documents, state security organ personnel lawfully carrying out urgent tasks may have priority use of public transportation and have priority access when encountering traffic obstructions.

As needed for counter-espionage efforts, state security organs may, in accordance with national regulations, have priority use of, or requisition in accordance with law, state organs', groups', enterprises' institutions', organizations' or individuals' transportation, communications tools, locations and buildings; and when necessary, may set up relevant work sites, equipment, and facilities. After the completion of the task, they shall be promptly returned or returned to their original condition and follow provisions in paying corresponding fees. Compensation shall be made where there are damages caused.

Article 12: As needed for investigation of espionage activities, and on the basis of national provisions, state security organs may employ technological investigative measures upon strict formalities for approval.

Article 13: As needed for counter-espionage work, national security organs may check relevant organizations' and individuals' electronic communication tools, equipment, and other equipment and facilities in accordance with the regulations. Where situations harmful to state security to national security are discovered in the course of an inspection, the state security organ shall order rectification; and where rectification is refused or after the rectification requirements are still not met, they may be sealed or seized.

After the situation endangering national security has cleared, the state security organs shall promptly release the sealing or seizure of equipment or facilities that were sealed or seized in accordance with the preceding paragraph.

Article 14: As needed for counter-espionage efforts and based on relevant national provisions, the national security organs may request that inspection organs such as customs and border controls waive inspections of relevant persons, materials, and devices. The relevant inspection organs shall assist.

Article 15: State security organs may lawfully seal, seize or freeze tools used in espionage conduct or other property, as well as capital, venues and materials used to fund espionage conduct, upon the permission of the responsible person at a state security organ at the districted municipality level or higher.

Article 16: As needed for counter-espionage efforts, state security organs may work together with relevant departments to draft technical protection standards for counter-espionage, and guide the relevant departments in implementing counter-espionage technical protective measures, and in departments with hidden dangers, upon strict approval procedures, counter-espionage technical protection reviews and tests may be carried out.

Article 17: State security organs and their personnel shall strictly handle matters in accordance with law when working, and must exceed or abuse their authority, and must not infringe the lawful rights and interests of organizations or individuals.

Individuals' and organizations' information and materials that is lawfully obtained by state security organs and their staff during the lawful performance of duties in counter-espionage efforts, can only be used in counter-espionage efforts. Where they are state secrets, commercial secrets and personal privacy, they shall be kept secret.

Article 18: State security organs personnel lawfully performing their duties receive legal protections.

Chapter III: The Duties and Rights of Citizens and Organizations

Article 19: State organs, groups and other institutions shall educate their units' personnel on the maintenance of State security, and mobilize and organize them to prevent and stop espionage activity.

Article 20: Citizens and organizations shall facilitate and provide other assistance to counter-espionage efforts.

Where due to assisting counter-espionage efforts, one or one's close relatives face a threat to their personal safety, they may request protection from the state security organs. state security organs shall work together with relevant departments to adopt protective measures in accordance with law.

Article 21: Citizens and organizations discovering espionage conduct shall promptly report it to the state security organs; where there are reports to public security organs or other state organs or organizations, the relevant organ or organization shall immediately transfer it to be handled by the state security organs.

Article 22: When state security organs investigate to learn of espionage conduct or gather relevant evidence, relevant organizations and individuals shall truthfully provide and must not refuse.

Article 23: Any citizen or organization shall keep confidential state secrets that they know related to counter-espionage efforts.

Article 24: No individual or organization may unlawfully hold any documents, materials or other items that are as State secrets.

Article 25: Individuals and organizations must not illegally possess or use special-purpose espionage equipment needed for espionage activities. Special-purpose espionage equipment will by designated by the State Council department responsible for national security in accordance with relevant national provisions.

Article 26: Any person or organization has the right to report or make an accusation to the State security organ at a higher level about a state security organ or its personnel, exceeding or abusing their authority or their other unlawful conduct. state security organs or relevant departments accepting reports or accusations shall promptly clarify the facts, take responsibility for handling and promptly inform the person reporting or making an accusation of the disposition.

No individual or organization may suppress or take revenge against persons or organizations for assisting state security organs' efforts or reporting or making accusations in accordance with law.

Chapter IV: Legal Liability

Article 27: Where extraterritorial institutions, organizations or individuals carry out, or instigate or fund others in carrying out espionage activities, or where an institution, organization or individual within the territory linked to a foreign institution, organization or individual conducts espionage activities, and it constitutes a crime, it is pursued for criminal responsibility in accordance with law.

Where those conducting espionage turn themselves in or make meritorious services, they may be punished leniently, have their sentence commuted, or have punishment waived; where there is major meritorious service, rewards are to be given.

Article 28: Prosecution may be avoided for those coerced or induced to participate in hostile or espionage organizations abroad, who engage in activities which endanger the national security of the People's Republic of China, but promptly and truthfully explain the circumstances to an organ of the People's Republic of China based overseas, or, upon reentering the territory, either directly or through their unit, promptly and truthfully explain the circumstances to a state security organ or public security organ.

Article 29: Where a person clearly knows of another person's criminal espionage conduct, but when state security organs investigate relevant circumstance or gather relevant evidence refuses to provide it, punishment is given by their work unit or the competent authorities at the level above; or the state security organs may give administrative detention of up to 15 days. Where a crime is constituted, pursue criminal responsibility in accordance with law.

Article 30: Where violence or threats are used to obstruct state security organs' lawful performance of their tasks, pursue criminal responsibility in accordance with law.

Where intentional obstruction of state security organs lawfully performing their tasks does not employ violence or threats, but causes serious consequences, pursue criminal responsibility in accordance with law; where the circumstance are minor, state security organs give up to 15 days administrative detention.

Article 31: Where state secrets relating to counter-espionage efforts are disclosed, the state security organs give 15 days of administrative detention; where it constitutes a crime, criminal liability is pursued in accordance with law.

Article 32: For those in unlawful possession of state secret documents, materials and other items, as well as those who unlawfully possess or utilize special purpose espionage equipment, state security organs may conduct a search of their person, items, residence and other relevant locations in accordance with law; and confiscate the state secrets documents materials and other items they unlawfully possessed, as well as the special purpose espionage equipment they possessed or utilized. Where the unlawful possession of state secrets documents, materials or other materials constitutes a crime, pursue criminal responsibility in accordance with law; where it does not constitute a crime, state security organs give warnings or administrative detention of up to 15 days.

Article 33: Property that is lawfully sealed, seized or frozen by State security organs, or property that one clearly knows to be relevant to espionage activity that has been concealed, transferred, purchased or sold on behalf of others, or hidden or concealed is to be recovered by State security organs. Where a crime is constituted, it shall be criminally prosecuted in accordance with the law.

Article 34: Where foreign personnel violate this law, they may be given a deadline to leave the country or deported.

Article 35: Parties that don't accept an administrative punishment decision or decision on compulsory measures may apply for a reconsideration to the organ at the level above the one making the decision within 60 days of the date on which they receive the decision; those who don't accept the reconsideration decision may raise a suit in the people's courts within 15 days from the date on which they receive the written reconsideration decision.

Article 36: According to this Law, property sealed, seized or frozen by State security organs shall be carefully kept, and it is to be disposed of according to the following circumstances:

(1) where [such property] is relevant to a crime, it shall be handled according to Criminal Procedure Law regulations:

(2) where a crime is not constituted, but there is a violation, confiscate that which shall be confiscated in accordance with law and destroy that which shall be destroyed in accordance with law;

(3) where no violation has occurred, or where the property bears no relation to the case, the seal, seizure, or freezing shall be lifted, and the property is to be promptly returned; any losses that have been caused shall be compensated in accordance with law.

All property confiscated by the state security organs shall be placed in the national treasury.

Article 37: State security organs' personnel who abuse their power, neglect their duties or misuse their power to benefit friends and family, and thereby constitute a crime or who illegally detain others, extract a confession by means of torture, obtain testimony by means of violence, disclose state secrets, commercial secrets or individual private information in violation of the regulations shall, if a crime is constituted, be criminally prosecuted in accordance with the law.

Chapter V: Supplementary Provisions

Article 38: Espionage conduct as used in this law refers to the following conduct:

(1) Activities that endanger the national security of the People's Republic of China that are carried out, prompted, or funded by an espionage organization and its agents, or carried out by agencies, organs, individuals, or other collaborators domestically or outside the PRC borders;

(2) participating in an espionage organization or being tasked as an espionage organizations' agent;

(3) Activities carried out, instigated or funded by foreign institutions, organizations and individuals other than espionage organizations and their representatives; or in which domestic institutions, organizations or individuals collude to steal, pry into, purchase or illegally provide state secrets or intelligence; or in which state employees are incited, enticed or bought over to turn traitor.

(4) indicating targets for enemies;

(5) conducting other espionage activities.

Article 39:The relevant provisions of this law apply to state security organs and public security organs following laws, administrative regulations and relevant national provisions to perform their duty to prevent, stop and punish activity other than espionage conduct that endangers state security.

Article 40: This Law shall come into force from the date of publication. The "People's Republic of China National Security Law" passed on February 2, 1992 at the 30 meeting of the Standing Committee of the 7th National People's Congress, is simultaneously revoked.



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