Chinese Press Focus on Human Rights Expert Appointed Head of the Bureau of State Secrets

July 31, 2005

The State Council announced on June 7 the appointment of human rights expert Xia Yong as Director of the Bureau for the Protection of State Secrets, a high-level government position. After the announcement, the Chinese news media has focused continuing attention on Xia Yong because of his writings on human rights.

Xia is well-known in China as a scholar of legal history, human rights, and the rule of law. Since the late 1990s, he has taught law to high-ranking cadres, advised China’s leaders on legal topics, and lectured to the Central Committee. He has also led the Chinese side of the legal experts seminars that are a part of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue.

As a scholar expert in human rights issues, Xia now has a position from which he may be able to resolve problems with Chinese laws and government practices governing state secrets. As implemented, for example, the State Secrets Law often contravenes the rule of law principles of clarity, fixity, and determinacy that Xia has expounded in his scholarly writings.