China to Legally Define Terrorist Activities
China’s legislature is considering a new bill that will define terrorism. Prior to this bill, the criminal law states that people who have participated in terrorist activities will face up to ten years in prison, but there was no precise definition for terrorist activities. Xinhua reports:
In his report on the bill to the legislature, Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning said the lack of clear definitions under current law have had direct, adverse effects on China’s effort to fight terrorism and bring terrorism-related assets under control, as well as to participate in international cooperation in this regard.
In the draft bill, terrorist acts are defined as those acts which are intended to induce public fear or to coerce state organs or international organizations by means of violence, sabotage, threats or other tactics.
The Beijing government has equated protests in Xinjiang and Tibet with terrorism, and this legal change is seen as an effort to bring terrorist suspects under legal charges. BBC adds:
Proponents of the new draft bill say it should make it easier to bring terrorism charges.
But critics say it is the Chinese government’s economic policies and restrictions on cultural and religious expression which are fostering anger among Xinjiang locals.
Last week, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the Dalai Lama’s prayers for the nine Tibetans who had self-immolated in Sichuan were in fact, “terrorism in disguise.”