State secrets law revised to handle online leaks

Updated: Feb 28, 2024 China Daily Print
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Top legislature unveils revisions to protect national security on the internet

A revised law aiming to guard State secrets and protect national security has been unveiled by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, calling for greater efforts to handle online leaks.

The revised Law on Guarding State Secrets was passed by the NPC Standing Committee when it wrapped up its latest session on Tuesday, and will take effect on May 1.

"As information and digital technologies have developed rapidly and been widely applied in various areas, managing State secrets has become increasingly difficult," the National Administration of State Secrets Protection said, adding that was why the content in the law related to online information had been improved.

The 65-article law clarifies that every step regarding online information, including production, replication, publication and dissemination must abide by the requirements for safeguarding State secrets.

It says internet operators should help investigate and handle cases suspected of involving leaked State secrets, requiring them to report the leaks to relevant departments and take emergency response measures in a timely manner.

While removing content involving the disclosure of State secrets, internet operators also need to check relevant devices through technical means to guarantee the problematic information is thoroughly eliminated, according to the law.

"In the digital age, data is an important factor of production, as well as a basic strategic resource for a country," the administration said.

"Data security is closely related to national sovereignty, security and development interests."

It added that the revised law enriches the content concerning secrets-related data to ensure the connection with the Data Security Law, which centers on the collection, storage, use, processing, transmission, disclosure and supervision of general data.

Considering the accelerated emergence of new scientific and technological applications such as big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, the revised law encourages research on technology for guarding State secrets and its application.

Intellectual property rights in the field of protecting State secrets should also be supported in line with the law to promote the capability of self-innovation, the administration said.

The Law on Guarding State Secrets was formulated in 1988.Before the latest revisions, it was modified in 2010, according to the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission.

"To better face new security challenges at home and abroad, we've further improved the law to provide stronger legislative supports to consolidate the firewall against risks and upgrade the national security system," the commission said.

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