China Mulls Law to Identify and Punish Terrorists

Posted October 25th, 2011 at 3:10 am (UTC-5)
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China is reviewing new legislation that would allow it to publicly identify terrorist organizations and freeze their assets.

State media say the State Council, or cabinet, submitted the legislation on Monday to the National People's Congress.

The China Daily newspaper quoted Yang Huanning, vice-minister of public security, as telling an NPC committee the lack of a clear definition of terrorist activities and organizations until now has has hindered efforts to crack down on terrorism. He said it has also affected international anti-terrorist cooperation.

The new legislation defines terrorism as behavior aimed at generating social panic, intimidating state agencies or international organizations and involving violence, destruction or threats.

Some suspected terrorists in the past have been tried under less specific laws against threatening social order.

China Daily says that under the draft law, the Ministry of Public Security will make public the names of terrorist organizations and terrorists and freeze their assets.

Several countries, including the United States, already have laws under which they identify terrorist organizations and punish them with sanctions, including the freezing of assets.

However some human rights groups have accused China of using the terrorist label as a pretext for persecuting groups with legitimate grievances, including some ethnic Uighur groups in the western Xinjiang region.