Xinjiang drafts 1st statute against religious extremism

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Lawmakers in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will begin to draft a regulation against religious extremism this year, the top regional legislator said on Wednesday. It will be China's first legislation targeting religious extremism, which has led to a number of terrorist attacks in the country in recent years.

"Drafting local regulations on anti-terrorism and eliminating religious extremism are the main focus of this year's legislative work, which will provide solid legal support for Xinjiang to combat terrorism and religious extremism," said Nayim Yassen, director of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Regional People's Congress. Nayim made the remarks on the sidelines of the annual session of the local people's congress in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Local lawmakers will also start to draft the practices for implementing the counterterrorism law in Xinjiang this year. They had already begun to draft local anti-terrorism legislation before the National People's Congress passed China's first counterterrorism law in December.

On Monday, Xinjiang announced that it will continue to intensify its strike-hard campaign against terrorism this year. Regional Party chief Zhang Chunxian said all anti-terrorism activities will be carried out in accordance with the law.

Nayim said Xinjiang lawmakers began to research the drafting of a regulation against religious extremism last year and have made "significant progress".

The spread of religious extremism is believed to have led to an increasing number of terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of China in recent years. Last year, the regional people's congress approved Urumqi legislators' decision to ban without delay full-face coverings in public. The legislators said such clothing is associated with religious extremism.

Xinjiang lawmakers also passed a regulation last year on improving ethnic unity. From Jan 1, behavior that damages ethnic unity will be punished in accordance with the regulation.

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