"Earlier this year, China updated its anti-espionage law amid an intensifying
rivalry with the US and growing distrust of the Western-led international
The law broadens the scope beyond what it originally sought to prohibit – leaks
of state secrets and intelligence – to include any “documents, data, materials,
or items related to national security and interests.”
The law also empowers authorities with new surveillance powers. These include
the ability to access people’s emails or social media accounts on electronic
The Chinese government is clearly using the new catch-all provision to cast a
wider net to identify “spies”. It is targeting not only Westerners working in
China, but also Chinese nationals who work for foreign companies or
organisations or interact with foreigners in any way.
The law is more than just theoretical – it has teeth. Last month, a new
national campaign was launched with rewards of up to 500,000 renminbi (just
over A$100,000) for anyone reporting suspicious individuals or suspected
Red banners have started appearing on Chinese streets, proclaiming
Implement the new anti-espionage law, mobilise collective efforts to
safeguard national security.
Posters with a hotline number for reporting suspicious individuals can now be
found on public transport, as well.
These visible signs serve as reminders that spies could be anywhere,
potentially feeding sensitive information to foreign entities that pose threats
to China’s national security and interests."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics