China gives state security agents new counter-espionage powers

China gives state security agents new counter-espionage powers

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China has issued new rules that extend the powers of its state security agents and elaborate on acts punishable under its counter-espionage law. The legislation came into force in November 2014, the first in a series of new laws brought in under President Xi Jinping to guard against perceived threats to national security, covering areas from cyberspace to terrorism, the South China Morning Post reports.

State security authorities already have broad powers under the law when carrying out counter-espionage duties. In the new rules detailing how the law should be implemented - issued by the State Council, China's cabinet, on Wednesday - state security authorities are granted the power to bar foreign individuals from entering the country for a certain period if they are considered to be likely to engage in activities that might endanger national security. They can also stop individuals suspected of espionage from leaving China. And the authorities can order that foreigners who have violated the counter-espionage law be deported.