Practice Relating to Rule 6. Civilians’ Loss of Protection from Attack
In spite of the absence of Chinese regulation on this matter, the Report on the Practice of China concludes that in practice civilians lose their civilian status and protection when carrying out military missions. The report adds that the term “innocent civilian” is often used in Chinese practice, and that a civilian who participates in hostilities, being no longer “innocent”, will lose protection. In this context, the report also gives a definition of the terms “spy” and “secret service”. A spy, under Chinese practice, is a civilian or a combatant who works for the enemy during an international armed conflict. “Secret service” refers to civilians or combatants who work for the enemy in the context of an internal armed conflict. The report concludes that it can be deduced from these two terms that civilians who take part in the hostilities, including those acting as spies or in the secret service, lose their protection.