Weekly Brief May 25

World Uyghur Congress, 25 May 2017

China Releases Draft Intelligence Law

China quietly released the first public draft of a new National Intelligence Law late last week on May 17th that has raised real concerns from civil society about its impact on their own work and on the privacy of vulnerable groups.

Among other things, the law requires that all Chinese citizens collaborate with national intelligence collection and authorizes Chinese intelligence agencies overseas to use “the necessary means and channels” through their work. Most concerning, requires intelligence agencies to collect and process information on foreign groups and individuals operating in China that allegedly fund, incite or implement acts that “endanger national security.”

The law also provides authorities with renewed and expanded powers to monitor suspects, raid premises, and seize vehicles and devices while investigating domestic and foreign individuals and groups.

When reviewed and completed, the law will inevitably have an impact both on Uyghurs living in East Turkestan and activists abroad. East Turkestan is already a region undergoing significant strain and the continued requirement to rely on members of the Uyghur population to disclose private information about friends and neighbours will likely exacerbate tensions.

The law comes on the heels of a number of other pieces of legislation ostensibly in a bid to enhance domestic security including the passage of a Counter-Terrorism Law at the end of 2015 as well as Regional Implementation Guidelines for the law in August 2016.

A National Security Law was also passed in July 2015 as well as a Cyber Security Law in November 2016 and will go into effect in June 2017. The passage of China’s Foreign NGO Management Law has also raised real concerns particularly considering harsh campaigns against human rights lawyers and other actors inside China.