China’s Espionage Law Leads To Concerns

China's Espionage Law Leads To Concerns

( – China, like many countries, including the United States, has had laws on the books surrounding the matter of espionage. According to Fox News, the standing law of the land stated it was illegal to participate in an “espionage organization” or take a job as an agent thereof. However, China recently changed its law regarding spies, broadening the scope so much that it has many concerned about the implications for Americans and other foreigners within China. Many believe the impact doesn’t stop there but could extend to Chinese citizens now afraid to correspond with people from foreign lands or their businesses.

What Changed?

The new law, approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in April, changed the wording defining what constitutes espionage. The Counter-espionage Law of the P.R.C. added that an act of espionage would include those merely “seeking to align with an espionage organization or its agents,” as reported by Fox News. Since the nature of the spy game is secrecy, some are concerned that could make interacting with foreigners dangerous for Chinese citizens. That danger extends from individuals to businesses to schools, with citizens avoiding the impression they are associating with anyone or any entity in the spy world.

Gatestone Institute Fellow Gordon Chang told Fox News that Chinese President Xi Jinping could be geared toward refocusing the “economy and financial system” inward to make the “departure of foreign companies” less jarring for Chinese citizens. While it seems the leader is trying to increase vigilance among the country’s citizens, he could inject more fear into society. Chang argues that Xi Jinping’s policies are worsening “fundamental problems.”

What Others Are Saying

NPR’s Scott Detrow recently interviewed Thomas Kellogg, a Georgetown University law professor specializing in China, to discuss his thoughts on the situation. He said the changes in the law made it possible to rope in regular business, journalistic, and educational activities under the espionage umbrella. He also said the law allowed for more “investigatory powers,” increasing the chances for office raids, phone searches, and file probes. Kellogg called the changes a “big deal.” The expert also indicated Americans could be detained under the new measure, similar to what has been happening in Russia.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently visited Beijing. She told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that her trip raised concerns over the new law. She said that while the United States took action to shore up “narrowly targeted” national security concerns, perhaps China’s aims were not as specific.

Copyright 2023,