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China Addresses Issues on Terrorism As It Passes New Controversial Anti-Terrorism Law

by Czarelli Tuason / Jan 01, 2016 06:28 AM EST
Chinese security forces in Xinjiang (Photo by AFP / Getty Images)

As China claims that their country has been suffering from militant and separatist threats, particularly in Western Xinjiang that has reported hundreds of deaths from violence in the past few years, the country has passed on Sunday an anti-terrorism law in efforts to take down terror operations.

According to Reuters on Monday, the new law will be requiring technology companies to aid in decoding certain information, without installing security "backdoors," while also allowing military undertaking abroad as they battle terrorism.

This, however, has raised the concern of many people, including those in the Western capitals that even U.S. President Barack Obama has raised the issue personally with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Many claim that the new anti-terrorism law of China violates freedom of speech and are concerned over the cyber provisions that come with it.

"This rule accords with the actual work need of fighting terrorism and is basically the same as what other major countries in the world do," said Li Shouwei, deputy head of the parliament's criminal law division under the legislative affairs committee.

BBC noted on Monday that human rights activists deem the new law "broad and sweeping" and could possibly be used against religious minorities and anti-government groups.

"What it is used for is not terrorism, but rather in the name of combating terrorism, it attacks all kinds of protests, particularly group and street protests," noted influential Chinese dissident Hu Jia. "It creates all kinds of emergency situations where it can monitor and severely restrict citizens and groups."

Human Rights Watch consider the law unconventional with international standards and noted that it will grant new agencies "enormous discretionary powers.

Amnesty International on the other hand, believe that despite the fact that the law is still being drafted, those who are against the government or practicing their preferred religion are not safe from being "persecuted on broad charges related to 'terrorism' or 'extremism.'"

Despite criticisms on China's anti-terrorism law, head of the Public Security Ministry's counter terrorism division An Weixing recognize that the country must step up against terrorist threats.

"Terrorism is the public enemy of mankind, and the Chinese government will oppose all forms of terrorism," An said.

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