China passes anti-terror law amid fears of misuse on Uighurs

Chinese parliament passes anti-terrorism law amid concerns it will be misused against ethnic Uighur minority

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An Weixing, the head of the Public Security Ministry's counter-terrorism division, drinks a tea at a news conference after China's parliament passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law in Beijing, December 27, 2015

People’s Republic of China passed a controversial anti-terrorism law on Sunday that focuses especially on Chinese autonomous region Xinjiang and allows technology firms in the military to venture overseas in counter-terror operations.

The anti-terrorism law allows the Chinese Army to get involved in operations overseas, though experts have said China faces big practical and diplomatic problems if it ever wants to do this.

The head of the Chinese Public Security Ministry's counter-terrorism division, An Weixing, said they faced serious problems, referring to militants in the ethnic Uighur dominated Xinjiang region.

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

Recently, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted attacks on the Xinjiang region in which the army burned alive at least ten Turkic-speaking ethnic Uighurs.

In the region Chinese government have many times accused of violating the minorities rights which does not let them do their own religious and cultural rights.

The new law also restricts media, which is controlled by the Communist Party, to censor details of the PLA’s activities, which especially includes the region, nor show scenes that are "cruel and inhuman."

Deputy head of the parliament's criminal law division under the legislative affairs committee Li Shouwei said China is doing the same thing that Western countries do, asking firms for cooperation to help fight with terror.

"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," Li told reporters.

He added that the new law will not affect normal operation of tech companies and they have nothing to fear in terms of having “backdoors” installed or losing intellectual property rights.

“Backdoor” is a method in computer system, often secret, which consists of bypassing normal authentication in products, cryptosystems or algorithm.

The new law caused deep concerns in Western countries that it could violate human rights such as freedom of speech.

US President Barack Obama raised his concerns to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the law, which was adopted in July requiring all key network infrastructure and information systems to be “secure and controllable.”

Washington argued the new law puts pressure on companies that want to keep their servers and user data within China to share confidential information.

TRTWorld and agencies