A Primer on China’s State Secrets Law for Anti-Corruption Practitioners (Part One of Two)

The high incidence of FCPA settlements involving allegations of corruption in China hints at a much wider number of companies facing possible anti-corruption issues that need investigation in the PRC. But China’s laws on reviewing and transmitting certain types of data present unique complications for companies performing internal investigations. In particular, China’s state secrets law is one of the greatest sources of complexity for foreign companies and their counselors. Vaguely worded and inconsistently enforced, the law forbids the transport of certain documents outside of the PRC. The Anti-Corruption Report recently spoke with a number of attorneys working in Asia to demystify this area of law and get tips on how to practically conduct an internal investigation while minimizing risk. In this, the first part in a two-part series, we explain the framework of the state secrets law and what types of information and data it may cover. In the second part we will discuss practical implications of the law for companies engaged in cross-border investigations. See “The Emperor Is Far Away: The Evolving Nature of Third-Party Risk in China” (Sep. 9, 2015).

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