Regulations on State Secrets Available Online

Chinese authorities often uses “state secrets” charges to arrest government critics and others who write or talk about sensitive political subjects, including journalists Zhao Yan and Shi Tao. Yet the government has not made public a clear definition of what constitutes a “state secret,” making it difficult for journalists and others to protect themselves from violating an often nebulous law. An active participant of the Independent Critique online forum, Yun’er, did a simple Google search of the term “state secrets specific scope” which turned up a wealth of government documents online outlining definitions of “state secrets” in various fields, including land management, environmental protection, public security, education, labor unions, and others. All the documents are archived here.

The following topics are just a few of those listed as constituting “state secrets” in various government documents accessible online:

-Numbers of war dead and wounded since the founding of the People’s Republic of China from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, which have not been made public by military or state government departments.

-The strategy and overall plan of land use development.

-Quotas for seasonal, and mid- and long-range plans for national land use. (including national construction, town and village industry, and rural land use for housing development.)

-Statistics concerning land that have not been approved for publication by national or local governments.

-Environmental quality reports (Detailed text) from the national, provincial, autonomous region, or municipal levels.

-Reports and data related to public health disasters caused by environmental pollution that have had a national impact.

-Reports about the environmental impact, and archived documents relating to periods of feasibility research, site-selection, design and construction, fueling and operation, and retirement of mid- and large-scale military use nuclear facilities.

-Data and statistics about natural disasters, epidemics, and negative social phenomena that, once released, can cause instability in the human mind and in society.

-Statistics from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) relating to serious accidents or industrial illness that have not been made public.

-The overall situation and statistics from the ACFTU relating to unemployment and poverty of workers

-The overall situation and statistics from the ACFTU related to group labor protests, strikes, demonstrations and other serious incidents.

-The overall situation, and investigation and penalty records of activities of illegal labor organizations from national, provincial, autonomous region, and municipal levels.

-Accusations against the Party and national leaders which are in the process of being handled or have not yet been checked and handled.

For more on China’s state secrets laws, see these documents from Human Rights in China and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.