China national security law to address 'harmful moral standards'

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China reviewed a new national security law during a meeting of its legislature's top body that will deal with a range of risks, including "harmful moral standards", state media said on Monday.

President Xi Jinping, who heads a newly established national security commission, has said China's security covers a wide array of areas, including politics, culture, the military, the economy, technology and the environment.

The sweeping law underwent its second reading during a session of the National People's Congress (NPC) standing committee, a group with about 200 members led by the third-ranking member of China's ruling Communist Party, the official Xinhua news agency reported. "The draft law called for reinforced education and dissemination of socialist core values, to prevent the infiltration of harmful moral standards," Xinhua said, without elaborating.

The news agency said the draft law included clauses that deal with "important industries and sectors deemed vital to the economy, which would prevent financial risks through the development of financial infrastructure and capabilities, and a grain security system".

It also deals with the establishment of "systems for cyber and information security", Xinhua said.

China already has broad laws governing security, and it is not clear to what extent the new law would enhance previously delineated powers.

Last November, China renamed its first national security law, which took effect in 1993, as the Counterespionage Law.

The NPC standing committee, which has the power to pass most legislation, typically meets every two months. Laws are often adopted after three readings.

The body is reviewing a series of controversial laws, including one on non-governmental organisations and a draft anti-terrorism law that has raised the hackles of foreign companies and governments.