TIME China

China Alters State Secrecy Laws for ‘Greater Transparency’

People ride along a bridge on a smoggy day in Nanjing
Reuters A new set of rules mandates government officials not to cover up information that should be publicly availably, such as information en the environment.

Officials are urged not to cover up public information with state secrecy as excuse

In what Chinese state media claims is an effort to boost government transparency, China unveiled new rules regarding state secrecy and public information late Sunday, Reuters reports.

The new rules are ostensibly to limit the amount of information being withheld from the public with the excuse that it is a state secret. According to the official news agency Xinhua, government officials “must not define as a state secret information which by law ought to be public.” The guidelines come into effect on March 1.

However, civil servants have been left to guess what ought to be public information and what should remain covered up, as the new rules are arguably as vague as the state secrecy laws they are supposed to curtail.

Beijing has recently come under pressure to be more open on matters with no obvious connection to national security, such as the environment. China’s state secret laws are notoriously far-reaching, covering everything from national defense to cultural affairs and pollution figures.


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