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1.02.2009

Draft CL amendments - Article 253 opening, concealing or destroying correspondence

Article 253

Any postal worker who opens without authorization or conceals or destroys mail or telegrams shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than two years or criminal detention.

Whoever steals money or property by committing the crime mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall be convicted and given a heavier punishment in accordance with the provisions of Article 264 of this Law [theft].

Translation courtesy CECC
Together with art. 253, this is the only Criminal Law provision on protection of privacy. The rationale of this article is protecting citizens' freedom and privacy of correspondence. Hence the range of "criminal subjects" (犯罪主体,Verbrechenssubjekt, soggetto attivo) is limited to postal workers. Those who steal valuables from the mail are punished for the crime of theft.

Addition of a paragraph on protection of privacy has been proposed:

Personnel of state organs, or financial, telecommunications, communication, educational, medical and other work units who in carrying out their duties or in the course of providing services sell or unlawfully provide citizens' personal information obtained through their unit shall be be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than two years or criminal detention if circumstances are serious and shall also - or shall only - be fined.

Those who steal, buy or obtain information mentioned in the preceding paragraph by any other unlawful mean shall - if circumstances are serious - be punished in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph.

国家机关或者金融、电信、交通、教育、医疗等单位的工作人员,违反国家规 定,将本单位在履行职责或者提供服务过程中获得的公民个人信息,出售或者非法提供给他人,情节严重的,处三年以下有期徒刑或者拘役,并处或者单处罚金。

窃取、收买或者以其他方法非法获取上述信息,情节严重的,依照前款的规定处罚

During the second reading of the amendments discussions about article 253 focussed on the need to include provisions about the criminal liability of juristic persons. A notable exception was Li Yali (Tianjin people's congress deputy chairman). He remarked that China lacks legislation on the protection of personal information, and suggested to define the sphere of an individual's privacy.

The drafting of a law on the protection of personal information 个人信息保护法 was proposed in 2003. The full text of the proposal is available here.

  





 




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