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China’s Checking Tourists’ Phones Now? New Chinese Laws Spark Concern

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Concerns were raised that starting in July, cell phones and laptops of those entering China, including foreign tourists, may be subject to random searches due to strict regulations. The Chinese government has clarified that the criteria for such suspicions, like allegations of espionage, are strictly defined, and ordinary entrants will not be subjected to inspection.

According to The Administrative Law Enforcement Procedures of the State Security Department of the People’s Republic of China and Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, announced last month, state security agencies can conduct inspections of individuals’ and organizations’ electronic devices starting July 1st.

Although it requires the approval of a state security agency leader at the city level or above and the creation of an inspection notice, it includes provisions that allow for the inspection of mobile phones or laptops on the spot after presenting a police badge in emergencies.

Because foreigners are also subject to these regulations, concerns were raised about whether foreign tourists visiting China would be subject to mobile phone inspections.

In response, the Ministry of State Security clarified through its official social media account that “three strict conditions are set regarding the application of this regulation, including the premise of the inspection, the target, and the procedure.”

State security agency officers cannot arbitrarily inspect if unrelated to espionage allegations. The inspection targets are explained as suspects of espionage activities, such as secretly filming military-restricted zones and confidential handling agencies. It was clarified that if unrelated or an ordinary entrant, they would not be subject to inspection.

In the case of the inspection procedure, it was conveyed that the inspecting party must receive approval from a state security agency leader at the city level or above and present a law enforcement badge.

The Ministry of State Security criticized certain overseas anti-China hostile forces for seizing opportunities to fabricate rumors and stir up disputes. They described the claim that “everyone entering China will have their cell phones inspected” as absurd, highlighting the baselessness of such allegations.

inews24
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