China has expanded the scope of its state secrets law, with restrictions on confidential information now also covering "working secrets", Reuters reported.

China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that changes to the Law on the Protection of State Secrets, which were passed by parliament, will take effect on May 1.

The scope of this law is being expanded for the first time since 2010, Reuters noted.

According to analysts, this is further evidence that national security is a priority for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

This has already led to a wide-ranging update in April last year to the anti-espionage law.

Some countries fear that China's changed regulations could be used to crack down on businesses, Reuters noted.

Chinese police raids last year at several management consulting firms, including Mintz Group and Bain & Co.

(Bain & Co), have caused concern among the foreign business community in China.

In addition, a Japanese pharmaceutical manager was detained in March in Beijing on charges of espionage, Reuters recalls.

Currently, state secrets in China cover areas from government and Communist Party decision-making to military and diplomatic activities, as well as economic development, science and technology.

According to the changes in the law, government agencies will be required to keep information "that is not a state secret, but the disclosure of which would cause certain adverse consequences."

The text also says that the rules for the management of official secrets will be published separately, but does not specify a specific date.

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The revised law will "strengthen the classification, comprehensiveness and interoperability" of the set of laws dealing with national security and state secrets, an anonymous State Secrets Bureau official said, Xinhua cited.

"This amendment clearly enshrines the party's management of secrets into the law," the official said, adding that online operators must "cooperate with relevant departments in the investigation and handling of cases suspected of leaking state secrets." .

The legislation also "strengthens" cooperation with China's Data Security Law to manage confidential data, the official said.

Since last year, China's Ministry of State Security has increasingly warned the public on the WeChat social network to remain vigilant against foreign espionage efforts, BTA notes.

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