China / Society

Specific terrorist acts more clearly laid out for police

By CUI JIA (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-22 03:13

A new guideline clearly defines terrorist activities in China and could help authorities combat terrorism, legal experts said on Sunday.

The guideline, which aims to cope with "the diversity of terrorist crimes in recent years, all of which were found to have connections with religious extremism", was issued by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security.

It explains how laws should be applied for crimes related to terrorism and religious extremism, and it requires law enforcement to respect religious beliefs and treat ethnic groups equally.

"The guideline has clarified many blurry definitions such as what is organizing or participating in terrorist activities, which is extremely important," said Jin Gaofeng, an associate professor specializing in criminology at People's Public Security University of China.

According to the guideline, setting up terrorist training camps, establishing terrorist cells, using religious extremism to instigate terrorist attacks, carrying out violent or deadly attacks with explosives as well as designing and distributing terrorist slogans or logos will be handled as criminal acts of organizing or participating in terrorist activities.

As China still doesn't have a comprehensive anti-terrorism law, the guideline will serve as a practical handbook, he said.

Ma Pinyan, a senior anti-terrorism researcher at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said the implementation of the guideline mainly focuses on the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

It states that people who beat or abuse others because they are "pagans" or "religious traitors" will be handled as having disturbed social order, as before there was no regulation that law enforcement authorities could follow, Ma said.

"This happened quite often and it hurts people very much, but there was nothing they could do but to walk away," Ma said.

Also, trying to collect funds to support terrorist activities by setting up illegal religious schools is also a common problem in Xinjiang. The act will now be seen as a criminal act of sponsoring terrorist activity.

Xinjiang, which has been on the front line of China's battle against terrorism, has experienced a series of bloody terrorist attacks. On May 22, an attack at a market in Urumqi killed 39 people and injured 94.

An attack on July 28 in Shache county, Kashgar prefecture, left 37 civilians dead and 13 injured. Police shot dead 59 terrorists and arrested 215 others. Local police found the terrorists were affected by religious extremism, which is blamed for the increasing number of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang.

"The guideline suits Xinjiang's grave anti-terrorism situation very well because it goes down to the last detail. It could help stop the acts that could later develop into terrorist activities," Ma said.

Cao Yin in Beijing and Gao Bo in Urumqi contributed to this story.

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