China approves first counter-terrorism law
CHINA adopted its first counter-terrorism law yesterday after early drafts of the Bill attracted strong criticism abroad for provisions that may tighten media controls and threaten the intellectual property of foreign firms.
The law is the "latest attempt to address terrorism at home and help maintain world security", said the official Xinhua news agency.
Details of the Bill, which was approved by the standing committee of the National People's Congress, China's legislature, were not immediately available, reported Agence France-Presse.
But according to the Chinese media, besides defining what basically constitutes terrorism, which includes inflicting violence on society and sowing widespread panic, the law also targets propagation of information that could potentially lead to terrorist activity.
The law also disallows publication of local terrorist news that departs from what are carried in the official media.
In what the foreign media claims to be an attempt to control online communications, the drafts of the law have included provisions which could require tech firms to install "back doors" in products or turn over encryption keys to Beijing.
United States President Barack Obama raised concern over the requirement when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Washington in September.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said last week the new law would "not have any restriction on the lawful activities of enterprises" and targets only "terrorist activities".