Scientists and researchers involved in classified projects have been banned from changing jobs until their assignments are complete. The State Science and Technology Commission issued a circular prohibiting them from leaving their work for fear departures might lead to 'the leaking of state secrets and put national security in jeopardy'. 'In principle, resignation of such researchers and scientists should not be approved if it would lead to leaking of important state scientific research projects or technological know-how,' the commission said. It says their supervisors would be held responsible if state secrets were found to have been compromised. Prosecutors could press criminal charges against scientists and their supervisors if national security was found to have been seriously compromised. Not only researchers and scientists must seek approval before changing jobs, they must also receive 'confidentiality education' after their resignation was approved, Xinhua (the New China News Agency) announced yesterday. The circular stated clearly that researchers and scientists must not reveal or sell their work to third parties or keep it for their own use. The commission reiterated it supported 'normal job changes' where confidentiality was not endangered. The circular did not cite any cases where confidentiality had been breached but hinted that many research institutes were suffering from a high turnover of scientists and researchers. 'How to put a stop to the infringement of confidentiality of technological know-how and state technical secrets has become a critical problem as we reform our research system,' the commission added.