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    China Readies New Anti-Terror Legislation to Tackle Uyghur Separatists

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    Chinese lawmakers began the second reading of draft anti-terrorism legislation quell unrest in the Xinjiang region home to Muslim Uyghur minorities.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) —Chinese lawmakers have begun the second reading of draft anti-terrorism legislation, after a series of separatist attacks in the Xinjiang region, home to Muslim Uyghur minorities, the local Global Times newspaper reported on Thursday.

    Chinese authorities are seeking to suppress unrest in the turbulent Xinjiang region that has killed more than 100 people in recent years. China prosecuted Uyghur minority groups accused of committing terror-related crimes under its criminal law. However, Xinjiang regional officials decided the existing law was inadequate as some suspects were involved in the international jihadists groups in neighboring countries, Bo Xiao, Xinjiang legislator said in an interview with the “China Daily”.

    Last February, Xinjiang regional officials also told the “China Daily” that they were considering drafting anti-terrorism legislation to quell unrest in the region. By the end of last year, in October, Chinese lawmakers presented the first draft of the national anti-terrorism law.

    The second draft legislation will be discussed in Thursday’s session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s legislature, which will be attended by a national intelligence gathering body.

    Chinese lawmakers will primarily focus on the legal definition for terrorism. Unlike the first draft discussed last year, the one to be reviewed on Thursday interprets terrorism as “any speech or activity that, by means of violence, sabotages or threats, generates social panic, undermines public security, or menaces government organs or international organizations”. The first draft also included “thoughts” in addition to “speeches and activities," which was considered to violate the constitutional rights of Chinese people. The second draft therefore seeks to find a balance between combating extremism and protecting people's rights.

    Also, the draft offers improved aerospace controls to protect the country against potential drone attacks and proposes to tighten control on social media to regulate the spread of terror-related information.

    In the past year, at least 200 people died in the resource-rich Xinjiang in attacks allegedly carried out by Uyghur separatists, according to Australian ABC. Last October, an Uyghur man drove into a crowd at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, causing the deaths of two pedestrians and three Uyghur attackers.


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