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Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times
Beijing, February 03, 2014
China has unveiled a new set of rules aimed at improving transparency in governance and directed officials not to label information as "state secrets" that could be put in the public domain, state media said.

Premier Li Keqiang signed the new regulations that, according to state-run Xinhua news agency, defines limits to secrecy.

"The regulation defines secrecy levels and authority limits, and clarifies time limits for differing levels of confidentiality and conditions for declassification," the Xinhua report said.

Organs and units have been told not to label items that should be made public as "state secrets", and they should not publicise those related to state secrets, the regulation said.

But state media reports did not elaborate on the categories to be defined as state secrets, continuing to maintain the cloak of secrecy on government rules and regulations. China tightly controls the amount of information it releases publicly – for example the number of people it executes annually – and the new rules left vague what could be defined as state secrets.

"Signs of "state secrets" should be labelled at prominent areas of state secret carriers and state secret equipment, according to the regulation. It includes specific rules on state secret carriers such as facilities used to receive and transmit state secrets," Xinhua said. The new rules asked authorities to destroy state secret carriers in accordance with state secrecy standards and ensure such facilities cannot be restored any more.

"Organs and units are asked to report possible state secret leakage to secrecy department at the same level or superior department which is in charge of state secrecy with 24 hours," it said.