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China addresses 'foreign infiltration' with surveillance of domestic entities

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China addresses 'foreign infiltration' with surveillance of domestic entities
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China’s national security is the cornerstone of stability on Tuesday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver | License Photo

April 27 (UPI) -- China is strengthening regulations that the government says could prevent foreign espionage, with new rules targeting domestic companies and organizations.

China's ministry of state security, or spy agency, said that it would enact new regulations that could prevent foreign spying, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

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According to Xinhua, Chinese authorities allege "overseas espionage and intelligence agencies and hostile forces have intensified infiltration into China."

China's enemies have "broadened their tactics of stealing secrets in various ways and in more fields, which poses a serious threat to China's national security and interests."

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Beijing's foreign ministry defended the policy Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said state security is "entitled to promulgate relevant departmental regulations that fall within its jurisdiction according to mandates prescribed in laws and regulations."

"National security is the cornerstone of stability," Wang said.

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Chinese state tabloid Global Times reported Monday that Chinese employees of state-owned enterprises are being briefed on new regulations to guard against spies when traveling abroad.

The state-run newspaper quoted an unnamed employee of a state-owned company, who said that staff going on overseas business trips to the Five Eyes alliance -- the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand -- have been told to disclose their itineraries and information to "headquarters."

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Employees also are being told to leave behind in China their mobile phones, laptops and flash drives, the report said.

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Li Wei, a Chinese national security specialist at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told state media that the regulation is of "great significance."

"It places emphasis on companies and institutions taking precautionary measures against foreign espionage," Li said.

The Global Times also mentioned cases of "threats," including the case of an "intern reporter" at a "mainstream Western media outlet."

China could be closely scrutinizing its citizens amid tensions with the United States and other countries. Haze Fan, a Bloomberg reporter and Chinese citizen, remains under investigation after being detained in December, according to the news service.

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