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Cheatsheet for new counter-espionage rules

Much of the new implementation rules aim to integrate other laws into the enforcement of the 2014 Counter-espionage Law. A few provisions, however, seemingly expand the scope or range of state security powers, and may prove important. No provisions introduce new limitations on the exercise of authority.

Most important is the expansion of the scope of state security powers when investigating acts of subversion that are not espionage. A new list in article 8 of these Rules explains what situations the broad investigative powers apply to, including religious activity seen as threatening national security.

Article 21 revises the Law’s rule that one is only punished for refusing to hand over evidence against someone one ‘knows’ is conducting espionage when requested to do so by authorities. This knowledge requirement is now met when state security tells you the person is committing espionage.

Article 22 includes the refusal to provide assistance to counter-intelligence work as a means of intentionally obstructing that work, punishable by up to 15 days of administrative detention with no court trial.

Article 6 expands prohibited ‘funding’ of espionage conduct to include the funding of those who are carrying out espionage conduct, even if the funding isn’t used for that purpose. There is also no requirement on its face that the funder must know the group is conducting espionage.

There are many important, and often objectionable elements of the Counter-espionage law not touched upon here, and it is worth reviewing that law, as well as the National Security Law, in their entirety.

In the chart below, I have annotated our translation of the new Implementation Rules in the right-hand column. Cells in Gray are less important, YELLOW are somewhat important, and those in RED are the most important.
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