Provisions on the Procedures for Administrative Law Enforcement of State Security Organs and Provisions on the Procedures for Criminal Case Administration of State Security Organs issued recently by China’s Ministry of State Security will be duly enacted and come into force on the 1st day of July, 2024. The above two provisions have received wide public attention and positive feedback from the society, who view them as a significant step forward in the legal construction of national security. However, some hostile overseas anti-China forces have seized the opportunity to distort the truth by making scandalous and false allegations, claiming that “all people will undergo phone checks when they enter China border”, which is absolutely preposterous!


I. “一种荒谬论调”不攻自How was the Allegation Made?

Recently, some overseas hostile anti-China forces, like villains filing suit against his, have hyped up these two departmental regulations which were formulated in strict accordance with the higher-level law, and maliciously fabricated such sensational claims as "mobile phone seized when entering China." This is not just a typical deliberate slander, which aims to create something out of nothing, but a stereotypical self-mirror imaging of “measuring others with one's own yardstick while framing the righteous”.


For some time now, some Western countries, who proclaimed themselves to be “a society under the rule of law” and a “beacon of democracy”, have been practicing double standards and politicizing legal instruments. Incidents such as unwarranted harassment and interrogation of Chinese citizens, arbitrary detentions in the "dark rooms," and forced "inspection of phones" have been of common occurrence. Even in certain countries, customs and border departments have specifically issued regulations, claiming that they can arbitrarily demand people to give up their passwords and inspect electronic devices without acquiring approval. Otherwise, they will confiscate their electronic devices, forcibly copy the contents, and deny them entry. These wanton enforcement practices, devoid of any semblance of the rule of law, have morphed into a “malignant tumor” undermining state-to-state and people-to-people exchanges, which has become another ironclad evidence of discrimination against Chinese and Asian ethnic groups.


Those who know they are in the wrong and fully aware of the wrongful practices of certain countries' law enforcement departments in arbitrarily inspecting the phones of incoming travelers, delude themselves into thinking that China should also emulate such illegal actions. This is undoubtedly making presumptions about others based on their own behavior. Those with ulterior motives, afraid of the severe consequence of jeopardizing China’s national security, can but sling mud at China's law enforcement agencies like a thief donning a judge’s robe.


II. “两个部门规章”出台有据 What are the Related Laws and Regulations?

China is a country under the rule of law, which stringently protects the citizens’ freedom and privacy of communication. The China’s Constitution and laws explicitly stipulate that no organization or individual may infringe upon citizens’ freedom and privacy of communication for any reason except for due legal reasons or procedures. This fully demonstrates the balance between safeguarding national security and ensuring individual rights.


In recent years, national security organs have been steadfastly implementing the strategic plan of the CPC Central Committee to comprehensively advance law-based governance by actively participating in the construction of a national security legal system with Chinese characteristics, and promoting the practical, professional, and standardized construction of national security legal work. Counterespionage Law of the People's Republic of China and Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, as the upper-level laws of two departmental regulations, respectively make authorized provisions for the administrative law enforcement and criminal investigation powers of the national security organs. As an important basis for the national security organs to regulate law enforcement and judicial activities, the two departmental regulations elaborate the powers and functions of the national security organs strictly within the scope of the authority conferred by the upper-case legislation. They establish clear and stringent standards for all law enforcement powers, embodying an integrated approach to combating illegal activities while prioritizing the protection of human rights, and ensuring a balance between the exercise of law enforcement powers with the safeguarding of legitimate rights and interests.


III. “三个明确查验”严格规范 Inspection Clearly Specified in Law

Espionage activities pose a serious threat to national security, and all countries have adopted legislation to combat them. In order to effectively prevent, stop, and punish espionage-related crimes, the newly amended Counterespionage Law of the People's Republic of China provides specific regulations on the lawful inspection of electronic equipment and facilities by state security organs in accordance with relevant provisions of the Constitution.


Clearly specified inspection prerequisites: Inspections must be carried out as part of lawful counter-espionage tasks. National security personnel cannot conduct inspections arbitrarily or privately in situations unrelated to counter-espionage work.


Clearly specified inspection targets: They must be individuals or organizations related to counter-espionage work, such as suspected spies who take pictures or videos in military restricted areas or classified units. Inspected subjects cannot be unrelated individuals, let alone average incoming persons.


Clearly specified inspection procedures: Approval for inspection must be obtained from the head of a national security organs at the municipal level or above. Law enforcement documents must be presented, and either the person being inspected or a witness must be present. If any national security risks are found, the responsible party must be ordered to rectify them. If rectification is not possible or refused, the facility may be sealed or detained in accordance with the law. It is particularly stipulated that in emergency situations where immediate inspection is necessary, approval must still be obtained from the head of a national security organ at the municipal level or higher. This requirement is more stringent compared to the general practice outlined in the Administrative Compulsion Law of the People's Republic of China, which typically permits immediate action followed by subsequent approval. This demonstrates adherence to the rule of law and the responsible exercise of authority.


The national security organs have consistently adhered to the Constitution and laws, upheld the principle of "acting in accordance with the law and refraining from unauthorized actions", and insisted on standardized, fair, and civilized law enforcement practices. At the same time, the national security organs will strictly implement the law enforcement supervision system and strengthen the law enforcement supervision mechanism. Supervision from people of all sectors of society over the national security organs and their personnel is welcomed so as to ensure that national sovereignty, security, and development interests are always safeguarded with the rule of law.


Source: WeChat Official Account of China’s Ministry of State Security

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