China is looking to introduce an anti-terrorism law to combat threats from both home and abroad, experts have said.
Zhao Bingzhi, president of the criminal law research committee of the China Law Society, who has been involved in discussing the draft law, said: "China has been very active in the establishment of an anti-terrorism legal framework and authorities are busy drafting a separate law to better fight terrorism."
He told the Workshop on the Global Legal Framework Against Terrorism yesterday in Beijing that the draft will take into consideration the terrorism situation China currently faces and all relevant international conventions.
Zhao did not reveal a timeframe for the draft law.
However, the latest legislative plan of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, has said that an anti-terrorism law might form part of its next five-year plan, which starts next year.
Earlier media reports said the law would define terrorist activities, the responsibilities and obligations of anti-terrorism authorities and how to fight terrorism both at home and abroad, all of which lack clarity in existing laws.
Li Qinglin, vice-president of the China Law Society, the co-host of the workshop, said growing terrorist forces worldwide pose a serious threat to all countries, including China, and it is crucial to improve legislation to provide a legal footing for anti-terrorism activities.
In January, police in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said they had killed 18 terrorists and arrested 17 others during a raid on a training camp run by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, or ETIM, which the United Nations labeled a terrorist organization in 2002.
ETIM, which is believed to be connected to Al-Qaida according to the Xinhua News Agency, plotted more than 200 violent incidents including explosions, assassinations, arson attacks, poisonings and assaults in Xinjiang and overseas between 1990 and 2001, killing 162 people and injuring 440, official data shows.
Jean-Paul Laborde, chief of the terrorism prevention branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said: "Terrorism is an international concern and no country is 100 percent safe."
He said China had always played a crucial role in the negotiations and adoption of the Global Counter-terrorism Strategy, which the UN adopted last year, and the country had also made good progress with its national anti-terrorism legislation.
In December 2001, three months after the September 11 terrorist attack on New York, China amended its Criminal Law and added more than 10 crimes of terrorism "to deal more harshly with the criminal acts of terrorists".
In October, it also adopted the Anti-Money Laundering Law to help combat the financing of terrorism.
(China Daily May 31, 2007)