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China promises laws to 'safeguard' national security

March 8, 2024

An emergency management and atomic energy law are among the wide-ranging security legislation China is expected to adopt in 2024 that lawmakers say will ensure national sovereignty.

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Zhao Leji applauds as he delivers his report during the second plenary session of the 14th National People's Congress
China last month broadened its state secrets law to include 'work secrets' and enacted a counter-espionage law last year that spooked foreign businessesImage: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese lawmakers on Friday affirmed their commitment to implement legislation to "resolutely safeguard" national sovereignty.

Delegates at a legislative meeting said the laws would modernize "China's framework and capability for national security" while safeguarding national interests.

What are the plans?

Top lawmaker Zhao Leji said Beijing would enact an emergency management law, an energy law, an atomic energy law, and a hazardous chemicals safety law," he added.

He spoke during the "Two Sessions" — the term used for simultaneous meetings of China's parliament and political consultative body that determine the National People's Congress Standing Committee's (NPCSC) strategy for the upcoming year.

The government also plans to revise existing legislation such as the National Defense Education Law and the Cybersecurity Law.

Zhao is the NPCSC's chairman and the third-ranked official of the Communist Party.

How China may allocate its planned defense increase of 7.2%

The proposal aligns with President Xi Jinping's focus on perceived internal and external threats.

The NPCSC report expressed a commitment to "strengthen legislation in areas involving foreign affairs and develop a system of laws for extraterritorial application." 

The parliament wants to increase interactions with other countries this year, including hosting seminars in China for foreign lawmakers and their staff.

The Hong Kong government also released a draft of its national security bill, Article 23, on Friday.

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tg/rc (AFP, Reuters)