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The Chinese government must immediately repeal a new national security law that gives the authorities sweeping powers to crack down on and suppress human rights, Amnesty International said.

China’s legislature today passed the law which defines “national security” in broad and vague terms, covering areas including politics, culture, finance and the internet.

“The definition of ‘national security’ under this new law is virtually limitless. The law gives a blank cheque to the government to punish and monitor anyone it does not like – human rights activists, government critics and other opposition voices,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Asia.

“This law clearly has more to do with protecting the Communist Party’s control of the country than with national security. The leadership of the Party and its monopoly on political power is explicitly listed as being part of ‘national security’ in the law.”

“The government has long been using national security charges, such as ’inciting subversion’, ’separatism’ and ’leaking state secrets’ to suppress and imprison activists and government critics. The expansive definition given by the new law is likely to further this trend.”

“Chinese authorities must scrap this law immediately and go back to the drawing board. Among other essential measures to protect people’s human rights, there need to be adequate safeguards put in place to balance security with individuals’ human rights.”

Amnesty International

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