Law of the People's Republic of China on Guarding State Secrets (Revision 2010)
Presidential Decree No. 28
The Law of the People's Republic of China on Guarding State Secrets, revised and adopted at the 14th Session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China on 29 April 2010, is hereby promulgated, effective on 1 October 2010.
President Hu Jintao
29 April 2010
第一章 总 则
Chapter 1 General Provisions
Article 1 This Law is formulated for the purposes of protecting State secrets, safeguarding national security and interests and ensuring smooth progress of reform, opening up and socialist development.
Article 2 State secrets shall be matters that have a vital bearing on State security and national interests and, as specified by legal procedure, are entrusted to a limited number of people for a given period of time.
Article 3 State secrets shall be protected by law.
All State organs, armed forces, political parties, public organizations, enterprises, institutions and citizens shall have the obligation to guard State secrets.
Any act endangering the security of state secrets must be investigated by law.
Article 4 The work of guarding State secrets (hereinafter referred to as the secrecy work) shall be conducted under the principles of active prevention, emphasis on priorities and legal administration, so as to ensure the security of State secrets and facilitate the rational use of information resources.
Matters that shall be disclosed as required by laws and administrative regulations shall be disclosed according to law.
Article 5 The State secret-guarding administrative department shall be responsible for the guarding of state secrets throughout the country. The local secret-guarding administrative departments at or above the county level shall be responsible for secret-guarding within the administrative areas under their jurisdiction.
Article 6 State organs and units involving state secrets (hereinafter referred to as the "organs and units") shall administer the secret-guarding work within their own organs and units.
The central state organs shall, within the scope of their functions and powers, administer or guide the secrecy work in their own organizations.
Article 7 The organs and units shall carry out secret-guarding responsibility system, improve secret-guarding administration system, perfect secret-guarding protection measures, carry out secret-guarding propaganda and education, and strengthen secret-guarding check.
Article 8 The state shall reward units or individuals that have made outstanding achievements in guarding and protecting state secrets and improving security techniques and measures.
Chapter 2 Scope and Categories of State Secrets
Article 9 The following matters involving national security and interests shall be determined as State secrets if the divulgence thereof may cause damage to the national security and interests in the political, economic, national defense, foreign affairs and other fields:
1. secrets concerning important decisions on state affairs;
2. secrets in the building of national defense and in the activities of the armed forces;
3. secrets concerning diplomatic activities and foreign affairs as well as secrets to be maintained as commitments to foreign countries;
(IV) secrets in national economic and social development;
(V) secrets concerning science and technology;
(VI) secrets concerning activities for safeguarding State security and the investigation of criminal offences; and
(VII) other matters that are determined as state secrets by the state secret-guarding administrative department.
Secrets of political parties that conform to the provisions of the preceding paragraphs shall be state secrets.
Article 10 State secrets shall fall into three categories: most confidential, confidential and secret.
State secrets of top-secret level are the most important State secrets, which will cause particularly serious damage to national security and interests; State secrets of confidential level are important State secrets, which will cause serious damage to national security and interests; State secrets of secret level are general State secrets, which will cause damage to national security and interests.
Article 11 The specific scopes and categories of State secrets shall be stipulated by the State secret-guarding administrative department together with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Security and State security and other central organs concerned.
The specific scopes and categories of state secrets related to military affairs shall be stipulated by the Central Military Commission.
Provisions on the specific scope of state secrets and the confidentiality levels thereof shall be made public within the relevant scope and shall be adjusted in a timely manner in light of the changes of circumstances.
Article 12 Persons in-charge of organs and institutions and their designated persons are people in-charge of secret-defining, who shall be responsible for work of defining, modifying and declassifying state secrets.
When an organ or entity classifies, changes or declassifies its own state secrets, the undertaker shall issue a specific opinion, to be reviewed and approved by the person in charge of classifying state secrets.
Article 13 The categories of state secrets shall be subject to the authority classifying state secrets.
A central State organ, an organ at the level of province or its authorized organ or institution may classify State secrets as most confidential, classified and confidential; and the organ at the level of city divided into districts or autonomous prefecture or its authorized organ or institution may classify State secrets as classified and confidential. Specific authority for classifying State secrets and the scope of authorization shall be stipulated by the State secret-protection administrative department.
Where it is necessary for an organ or agency to set the confidentiality level in processing a State secret determined by its superior authority, it shall set the confidentiality level based on that of the State secret. Where the organ or organization at a lower level considers that the relevant matter to be classified arising in the organ or organization falls under the authority of its superior department, secrecy measures shall be taken in advance, and the matter shall be forthwith reported to the superior department for classification; in the absence of such superior department, the matter shall be forthwith reported to the competent department or secrecy administrative department with the corresponding authority for classification.
Public security organs and State security organs shall set confidentiality levels of State secrets within the limit of their responsibilities and authorities.
Article 14 An organ or agency shall, in accordance with the provisions on the specific scope and categories of state secrets, classify state secrets arising in the organ or agency, and shall determine the secrecy period and the access scope of state secrets.
Article 15 The secrecy period of a State secret shall be limited in a necessary time limit based on the nature and characteristics of the State secret and in light of the demands of maintaining the national security and interests. Where it is impossible to determine the time limit, the conditions for declassification shall be determined.
Unless otherwise provided, the secrecy period for State secrets of top-secret level, confidential level and secret level shall not exceed 30 years, 20 years and 10 years respectively.
Organs and agencies shall determine the specific secrecy period, time or conditions for declassification in light of actual needs.
Where an organ or entity decides, according to its actual needs, to publicize matters classified as state secrets in deciding on or handling relevant matters, the matter shall be deemed declassified upon formal publication.
Article 16 The access scope of a State secret shall be limited to a minimum according to work needs.
The scope of people knowing state secrets shall be limited to specific persons if the case may be; while if it is impossible to be limited to specific persons, the scope shall be limited to organs and units, which shall further specify the persons.
Where it is necessary for a person who is not within the access scope to access the state secret, the access shall be approved by the person in charge of the organ or agency concerned.
Article 17 Organs and institutions shall mark "state secret" on paper media, light media and electromagnetic media that carry state secrets (hereinafter referred to as the "carriers of state secrets") as well as equipments and products containing state secrets.
Those not determined as state secrets shall not be marked as such.
Article 18 The categories of state secrets, the periods for secret guarding and the scope of people knowing state secrets shall be altered in the light of changing circumstances. Such modification shall be determined by the original secret-defining organ or unit or by superior departments.
Where the confidentiality level, the secrecy period and the access scope of a State secret are changed, the organs, agencies or persons who are within such scope shall be notified in writing in a timely manner.
Article 19 State secrets shall be automatically declassified upon the expiration of the period for guarding them.
Organs and agencies shall regularly examine the State secrets determined. Where a matter shall no longer be regarded as a State secret due to the adjustment to the scope of classified matters within the secrecy period, or it is unnecessary to keep the State secret as the publicity of such matter will not cause damage to the national security and interests, the State secret shall be declassified in a timely manner; where it is necessary to extend the secrecy period, the secrecy period shall be re-determined before the expiration thereof. The earlier declassification of state secrets or the extension of the period for protecting a secret, shall be decided by the organ or institution that originally determined the classification or the relevant superior department.
Article 20 Where an organ or entity is not sure about or has disputes over whether a matter is a state secret or which category it should be classified into, the determination shall be made by the state secret-guarding administrative department or the secret-guarding administrative department of a province, an autonomous region or a municipality directly under the Central Government.
Chapter 3 Security Rules
Article 21 The carriers of state secrets shall be prepared, received and dispatched, delivered, used, reproduced, saved, maintained and destroyed in accordance with the secrecy provisions of the State.
The carriers of State secrets that are classified as "most confidential" shall be kept in the facilities and equipment that meet the secret-guarding standards of the State, and special persons shall be designated to be in charge of managing them; such secrets shall not be copied or extracted without the approval by the organ or agency that originally determined such secrets or by its superior authorities; and personnel shall be designated to take charge of the receipt, dispatch, delivery or carrying of such secrets, and necessary security measures shall be taken.
Article 22 The equipment and products that fall under the scope of State secrets shall be researched and developed, produced, transported, used, saved, maintained and destroyed in accordance with the secrecy provisions of the State.
Article 23 Hierarchical protection measures shall be adopted for the computer information systems which are used for storing or processing state secrets (hereinafter referred to as the secret-related information system) based on the confidentiality level.
A secret-involved information system shall be equipped with the secrecy facilities and equipment under the secrecy standards of the State. The secrecy facilities and equipment shall be planned, constructed and put into practice simultaneously with the secret-involved information system.
A secret-involved information system shall not be put into use until it passes the examination as required.
Article 24 Organs and units shall strengthen the administration of secret-involved information systems. No organization or individual may conduct the following acts:
1. Linking secret-involved computers or storage device with internet or other public information network;
(II) Conducting information exchange between secret-involved information systems and internet or other public information network without adopting any protection measures;
(III) Using non-secret-involved computers or storage device to store and process state secret information;
(IV) Unloading or changing security technical process or management process from secret-involved information systems without due authorization;
(V) To present, sell, discard or use for other purposes out-of-use secret-involved computers or storage device for which no security technical process has been done.
Article 25 Organs and units shall strengthen the administration of carriers of state secrets, and no organization or individual may conduct the following acts:
1. Illegally obtaining or holding carriers of state secrets;
2. Selling and purchasing, gifting or destroying without due authorization carriers of state secrets;
(III) Delivering carriers of state secrets via the channels without any security measures such as ordinary mail and express delivery;
(IV) Mailing or consigning carriers of state secrets out of the territory; or
(V) Carrying or transmitting carriers of state secrets out of the country's territory without approval of relevant competent authorities.
Article 26 State secrets shall not be illegally reproduced, recorded or stored.
State secrets shall be forbidden to be transmitted on the Internet or any other public information network or via wire or wireless communications without any security measures.
State secrets are prohibited in private contacts and correspondence.
Article 27 The relevant confidentiality provisions shall be complied with in the editing, publication, printing and distribution of newspapers and periodicals, books, audio and video products and electronic publications, the production and broadcast of radio and television programs and films, as well as the editing and publication of information in internet, mobile communication network and other public information network and other media.
Article 28 Business operators and service providers of internet and other public information networks shall cooperate with public security organs, national security organs and procuratorial organs in their investigation of secret divulgement cases; if it is found that the information released via the internet or other public information network involves State secrets, the transmission thereof shall be immediately stopped, relevant records shall be kept, and a report shall be made to the public security organ, national security organ or secrecy administration; and the information involving State secrets shall be deleted as required by the public security organ, national security organ or secrecy administration.
Article 29 The publication of information and purchase of projects, goods and service involving state secrets by organs and units shall be subject to secret-guarding provisions.
Article 30 Where it is necessary for an organ or agency to provide a State secret in communication and cooperation with foreign countries, or it is necessary for its appointed or hired overseas personnel to access the State secret, such organ or agency shall report the case to the competent authorities of the State Council or to the relevant competent authorities of the province, autonomous region or centrally-administered municipality for approval, and shall enter into a secrecy agreement with such personnel.
Article 31 Where a meeting or any other activity involves a State secret, the sponsor shall take secrecy measures, provide participants with secrecy education, and raise specific secrecy requirements.
Article 32 Organs and agencies shall determine the bodies involving State secrets of top-secret level or of relatively more confidential or secret level as the vital secrecy departments, determine the special places used for preparing, storing and keeping the carriers of State secrets as the vital secrecy sections, which shall be equipped with necessary technical protection facilities and equipments in accordance with the secrecy provisions and standards.
Article 33 Military forbidden zones and places and locations that constitute state secrets not open to the public shall be protected by security measures; no one may decide to open them to the public or enlarge the area that is open to the public without approval of relevant authorities.
Article 34 Enterprises and public institutions that are engaged in the production, reproduction, maintenance and destruction of carriers of state secrets, the integration of secret-related information systems, the scientific research and production of weaponry and other business involving state secrets shall be subject to secrecy examination, and the specific measures shall be provided by the State Council.
Where organs or agencies entrust an enterprise or a public institution with any of the aforementioned businesses, they shall sign a secrecy agreement therewith, raise secrecy requirements and take secrecy measures.
Article 35 Persons in secret-related positions (hereinafter referred to as the "secret-related personnel") shall be classified into core secret-related personnel, important secret-related personnel and general secret-related personnel on the basis of the degree of state secret involvement for management.
Examination shall be carried out for appointment or employment of secret-related personnel pursuant to the relevant provisions.
Secret-involved personnel shall have good political quality and moral characters, and shall be competent for the secret-involved positions.
The legitimate rights and interests of secret-related personnel are protected by law.
Article 36 Before taking post, secret-related personnel shall receive secret-protection education and training, master secret-protection knowledge and skills, sign a confidentiality undertaking, and strictly abide by confidentiality rules and regulations, and shall not divulge State secrets in any way.
Article 37 Secret-related personnel shall obtain the approval of the relevant departments for their exit. If the relevant organs consider that secret-related personnel's exit will cause harm to national security or cause heavy losses to national interests, secret-related personnel shall not be approved for their exit.
Article 38 Secret-related personnel shall be subject to the administration whereby they are kept away from secrets during a specific period of time when leaving their post or position. Within such period, secret-related personnel shall perform their obligation for guarding secrets in accordance with the provisions, and shall not be employed in violation of the provisions or divulge State secrets in any way.
Article 39 An organ or organization shall establish and improve the management system for secret-related personnel, specify the rights of secret-related personnel and their post responsibilities and requirements, and supervise and inspect secret-related personnel's performance of responsibilities on a regular basis.
Article 40 State functionaries and other citizens should, upon discovering that State secrets have been divulged or are in danger of being divulged, take remedial measures immediately and promptly report the matter to the organs and units concerned. The organ and agency receiving the report shall deal with such case immediately and report the case to the secrecy administration in a timely manner.
Chapter 4 Supervision and Administration
Article 41 The state secret-guarding administrative department shall formulate secret-guarding rules and state secret-guarding standards in accordance with the provisions of laws and administrative regulations.
Article 42 Secret-guarding administrative authorities shall organize and carry out propaganda and education, secret-guarding check, protection of secret-guarding technology and investigation of secret divulgement cases in accordance with law and carry out direction and supervision on secret-guarding work of organs and units.
Article 43 Where a secret-protection administrative department discovers that the determination, modification or declassification of a state secret is inappropriate, it shall notify the relevant organ or entity to make corrections in a timely manner.
Article 44 When a secret-protection administrative department inspects an organ or organization's compliance with the secret-protection rules, the relevant organ or organization shall provide cooperation. Where a secret-protection administrative department discovers that there is a hidden danger for divulgence of secrets with an organ or organization, the department shall require the organ or organization to take measures and make corrections within a specified time limit; the department shall order the organ or organization to stop using the facilities, equipment and premises with a hidden trouble for divulgence of secrets; the department shall make a proposal to the relevant organ or organization to impose sanctions on secret-related personnel who seriously violate the provisions on secret-protection and such personnel shall be transferred out of their secret-related positions; where it is discovered that the personnel are suspected of divulging a State secret, the department shall supervise or guide the relevant organ or organization to conduct investigation and handle the case. If a crime is suspected, the case shall be transferred to the judicial authority for disposal.
Article 45 Secret-guarding administrative authorities shall take over illegally acquired or possessed carriers of state secret which are found in secret-guarding inspection.
Article 46 Where it is necessary for an organ handling a case suspected of divulging a State secret to identify whether the relevant matter is a State secret or which category it should be classified into, such determination shall be made by the State secrecy administration or the secrecy administration of a province, autonomous region or centrally-administered municipality.
Article 47 Where an organ or organization fails to impose disciplinary measures in accordance with the law on a person who violates the secrecy provisions, the secrecy administration shall make a suggestion on making corrections, and, in case of refusal to make corrections, shall submit the same to the organ or supervision organ at the next higher level for dealing with the leaders held liable and the persons held directly liable of the organ or organization in accordance with the law.
Chapter 5 Legal Liabilities
Article 48 Whoever commits any of the following acts in violation of the provisions hereof shall be punished in accordance with the law; where a crime is constituted, criminal liability shall be pursued in accordance with the law:
1. Illegally obtaining or holding carriers of state secrets;
2. Selling and purchasing, gifting or destroying without due authorization carriers of state secrets;
(III) Delivering carriers of state secrets via the channels without any security measures such as ordinary post or express delivery;
(IV) Sending carriers of state secrets by post or consigning for shipment outbound, or carrying or transmitting carriers of state secrets outbound without approval of relevant competent authorities;
(V) Illegally copying, recording or storing state secrets;
(VI) involving state secrets in private intercourse and communication;
(VII) Delivering state secrets via the internet or any other public information network or via wire or wireless communications without any secrecy measures;
(VIII) Linking secret-involved computers or storage device with internet or other public information network;
(IX) Conducting information exchange between secret-involved information systems and internet or other public information network without adopting any protection measures;
(X) Using non-secret-involved computers or storage device to store and process state secret information;
(XI) Unloading or modifying security technical process or management process from secret-involved information systems without due authorization;
(XII) To present, sell, discard or use for other purposes out-of-use secret-involved computers or storage device for which no security technical process has been done.
Where a person commits any of the aforementioned acts, which does not constitute a crime yet, and disciplinary measures are not applicable to the person, the secrecy administration shall urge the organ or agency which the person works for to deal with the case.
Article 49 Where an organ or agency, in violation of this Law, is involved in a significant case involving divulgence of secrets, the organ or agency shall impose disciplinary measures on the person directly in charge and the other persons directly liable in accordance with the law; for persons to whom disciplinary measures are not applicable, the secrecy administration shall urge the department concerned to deal with the case.
Where an organ or entity, in violation of this Law, fails to classify a matter that is required to be classified or classifies a matter that is not required to be classified, thereby causing serious consequences, the relevant organ or entity shall impose sanctions on the person directly in charge and the other persons directly liable in accordance with the law.
Article 50 Where any operator or service provider of the Internet or any other public information network violates the provisions of Article 28 hereof, the public security organ or State security organ concerned, or the competent information industry department concerned shall impose punishments by law as per their respective duties.
Article 51 Personnel of secret-protection departments who abuse their powers, neglect their duties or play favoritism and commit irregularities in performing their duties of secret-protection administration shall be punished in accordance with the law; where a crime is constituted, criminal liability shall be investigated in accordance with the law.
第六章 附 则
Chapter 6 Supplementary Provisions
Article 52 The Central Military Commission shall, in accordance with this Law, formulate the Regulations of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Guarding Secrets.
Article 53 This Law shall come into effect on October 1, 2010.