By GILLIAN WONG
BEIJING – China is poised to strengthen a law to require telecommunications and Internet companies to inform on customers who discuss state secrets, potentially forcing businesses to collaborate with the country's vast security apparatus that stifles political dissent.
In China, state secrets have been so broadly defined that virtually anything — maps, GPS coordinates, even economic statistics — could fall under the category, and officials sometimes use the classification as a way to avoid disclosing information.
The new draft maintains that wide scope, defining state secrets as: "information that concerns state security and interests and, if leaked, would damage state security and interests in the areas of politics, economy and national defense, among others," Xinhua said. Reports did not say what penalties for violations would be under the amended law.
But its passage is unlikely to result in a significant change as communications companies are already often compelled by powerful authorities to comply with investigations.
Love & clear light,