by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 26, 2011
China's parliament passed legislation Saturday beefing up the nation's counter-terrorism laws, while also ordering finger prints to be added to all national identity cards.
The two bills passed Saturday by the standing committee of the National People's Congress, China's legislature, were aimed at safeguarding social stability, legislators told journalists.
The bill laying out the nation's legal definition of terrorism clarifies when China's anti-terrorism forces should act and against whom, legislator Li Shouwei said.
It also requires the government to issue a list of alleged terrorists and terrorist groups and stipulates what measures government departments should take to confront them, including freezing their assets, he said.
"Concerning the name list of terrorist organisations, this will be published in accordance with the anti-terrorism situation," Li said.
"We will adopt corresponding measures as terrorist organisations and terrorists appear domestically, or in accordance with concerned resolutions issued by the competent organs of the UN Security Council."
Terrorist acts are defined as those intended to induce public fear or to coerce state organs or international organisations by means of violence, sabotage, threats or other tactics, according to a draft of the bill.
China has numerous laws which address terrorism, but the lack of a clear legal definition has resulted into differing interpretations, Li said.
The bill addresses this problem and is also expected to facilitate China's participation in global anti-terrorism efforts, he said.
China has largely singled out the "three forces" of extremism, separatism and terrorism in its western Xinjiang region as the main terrorist threat to the nation.
But Western experts have said Beijing has produced little evidence of an organised terrorist threat in the region populated by ethnic Uighurs, a Turkish-speaking Muslim minority.
Sporadic bouts of unrest in the region stem more from long-standing local resentment to China's rule there, they say.
A second amendment passed Saturday to China's law on identification papers will result in fingerprints being added to ID cards, making it easier for authorities to verify the identity of card holders, legislator Huang Shuangquan said.
The amendment also granted police the powers to make more frequent citizen ID checks, including at train stations, airports and major events, he said.
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War on al-Qaida strains U.S. ties in Yemen
Sanaa, Yemen (UPI) Oct 26, 2011
As the CIA and U.S. Special Forces battle to eliminate the leadership of al-Qaida in Yemen, strains are building with embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh who wants the Americans to focus on crushing rebels seeking to topple him. Saleh has been in power in 1978 and his longevity is due in considerable part to his frequent alliances with Yemen's Islamists. Indeed, he defeated a souther ... read more
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