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China adopts first counter-terrorism law in history

Updated: 2015-12-28 07:35

A statement from NPC Standing Committee earlier this week said the new definition had been inspired by a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) counter-terrorism convention, and the UN's Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism.

A previous draft of the law, submitted in February, did not cover personal and property rights or political and ideological purposes.

"[China] opposes all extremism that seeks to instigate hatred, incite discrimination and advocate violence by distorting religious doctrines and other means, and acts to eradicate the ideological basis for terrorism," the approved bill read.

The new law comes at a delicate time for China and for the world at large - terror attacks in Paris, the bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt, and the brutal killings of hostages committed by Islamic State (IS) extremist group are alerting the world about an ever-growing threat of terrorism.

According to China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang, the new law is an important part for establishing systemic rules for national security.

The law establishes basic principles for counter-terrorism work and strengthens measures of prevention, handling, punishment as well as international cooperation, he said.

Under the new bill, telecom operators and internet service providers are required to provide technical support and assistance, including decryption, to police and national security authorities in prevention and investigation of terrorist activities.

They should also prevent dissemination of information on terrorism and extremism.

Li Shouwei of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee legislative affairs commission, said the rule accorded with the actual work needed to fight terrorism and was basically the same as other major countries.

"The clause reflects lessons China has learned from other countries and is a result of wide solicitation of public opinion," he added.

"(It) will not affect companies' normal business nor install backdoors to infringe intellectual property rights, or ... citizens freedom of speech on the internet and their religious freedom," Li said.

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