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China mulls national security law

A new national security draft law seeking to establish a comprehensive safeguard system was put before China's top legislature on Monday.

The draft, aiming to "protect people's fundamental interests", stipulates that in the management and handling of a national security crisis "measures that best protect the rights and interests of citizens and organizations should be chosen."

The first reading will take place during the bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), which runs from Monday to Sunday.

Director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, Li Shishi, told lawmakers that "it was necessary to make a comprehensive, overall and fundamental law on national security in accordance with the new contemporary environment."

The draft defines "national security" as a condition in which a country's government, sovereignty, unification, territorial integrity, well-being of its people, sustainable and healthy development of its economy and society, and other major interests are relatively safe and not subject to internal and external threats. Good national security includes the capacity to safeguard and ensure the sustainability of such a secure condition.

It stipulates that a national security safeguarding system should be established and improved, so that it meets demand and is in accordance with economic and social development. In addition, the capacity of protecting national security should be continuously improved.

China's first National Security Law took effect in 1993 and primarily regulated the work of the country's national security agencies, whose major duty is counterespionage. As a result, the law was transformed into the Counterespionage Law and was adopted by the top legislature on Nov. 1, abolishing the National Security Law.

Last November, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee decided to establish a national security commission.

The new draft seeks to put in place systems to manage laws and regulations, finance, materials, science and technology, talent, working measures, publications and education in support of the establishment and improvement of national security.

It grants citizens and organizations the right to be protected by law when supporting national security work, prioritization of compensation and pension, the right to criticize, offer advice and appeal, and protection of freedom.

It also emphasizes that everyone shares in the duty to safeguard national security.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who heads the commission, advocated an "overall national security outlook" when chairing the commission's first meeting in April.

He stressed that the challenges China faces in maintaining national security today are more diverse than they have ever been, as it has seen complicated internal and external situations.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 22Dec14]

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