Sweeping powers to curb dissidents
BEIJING has announced a detailed set of regulations on state security in an apparent bid to tighten control over dissidents and other groups deemed to pose a challenge to the administration.
The Detailed Regulations on the Implementation of the State Security Law of the People's Republic of China was signed by Prime Minister Li Peng on June 4 and became effective yesterday.
For the first time since 1949, Beijing has laid down general criteria for what constitutes a ''hostile organisation'' and what kind of activities are prejudicial to state security and interests.
The regulations, divided into five chapters and 28 articles, were released by Xinhua (the New China News Agency) last night.
The regulations define as an ''enemy'' or ''hostile'' organisation any unit that ''regards with hostility the administration of the people's democratic dictatorship as well as the socialist system''.
The Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Public Security are granted sweeping powers to determine what constitutes hostile activities.
These include the ''fabrication and distortion of facts; the publication and dissemination of words and opinion; and the production and broadcast of audio-visual material which endangers state security''.
The regulations warn against hostile religious activities as well as those that ''fabricate disputes among the [minority] peoples or instigate the splitting up of nationalities''.
Without official approval, it is illegal for foreigners to meet people considered or suspected to be a threat to state security or to ''provide funds, premises and material to organisations or individuals in China which endanger state security''.
The regulations define for the first time that illegal possession of documents, materials and ''other matters that belong to state secrets'' pertains to possession or storage of such materials by ''people who should not know a certain state secret''.