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China mulls new amendment to criminal law
update:June 29,2020
BEIJING, June 29,2020 -- Chinese lawmakers Sunday started deliberating a new draft amendment to the country's Criminal Law.
The draft amendment to the Criminal Law, which has proposed six major areas of updates, was submitted to an ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
The updates, some 30 revised or newly added provisions, mainly focus on stepping up the prevention of and penalties for workplace safety crimes, improving stipulations for penalizing food and drug safety crimes and stipulations for financial crimes, strengthening legal protection of corporate property rights and strengthening legal guarantee for public health, according to the draft.
Drawing on the experience of fighting COVID-19, the draft has revised the definition of the crimes of impairing infectious disease prevention and treatment.
Refusing to follow the lawful measures imposed by the government for epidemic prevention and control, and illegally selling or shipping contaminated objects in epidemic-hit regions are considered criminal acts, according to the draft.
In rectifying wrongdoings in the financial sector, the draft toughens the penalties for the crime of "illegally taking in deposits from the general public," a form of illegal fundraising, extending its maximum term of sentence from 10 years to 15 years. The draft also outlaws violence-related debt-collecting activities and jobs.
The draft has added a new crime of "corporate espionage." People who are found guilty of stealing, spying into, buying or unlawfully supplying business secrets for overseas organizations and individuals will bear criminal responsibilities.
To safeguard biosecurity, the draft stipulates penalties for illegally implanting gene-edited or cloned embryos into human bodies or animals.
Dovetailing the Law on the Protection of Heroes and Martyrs, the draft also considers insulting and defaming heroes and martyrs as crimes. 
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