URUMQI, (Xinhua) — The regional government of Xinjiang unveiled China’s first local counterterrorism law Friday.
Based on China’s Counterterrorism Law, passed in December 2015, the regional law details and supplements the national law in defining terror activities and terrorists, security precautions, intelligence, investigations, countermeasures and punishment.
The local rules, which feature measures to implement the nation’s Counterterrorism Law in the region and contain 61 items in 10 chapters, took effect Aug. 1.
The legislative commission of the regional people’s congress said the new measures stress that religious extremism is the ideological basis of terrorism and must be prevented and punished.
Nayim Yasen, head of the standing committee of the regional legislature, said Xinjiang, as the main battlefield in China’s war against terrorism, has gained experience in combating terrorism in recent years, ensuring the practicality and effectiveness of the new law.
The new rules stipulating that it is illegal to intervene in others’ marriages, funerals, inheritance issues for religious reasons. The spread of distorted Islamic ideas is also prohibited. Acts such as encouraging others to resist national policies, destroying identification cards, household registration and marriage certificates are also made illegal.
The regional police said that terror attacks in Xinjiang in recent years have shown that religious extremism is an important tool for terrorists to brainwash people into engaging in crime.
Bai Li of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said that extremism may not necessarily turn into terrorism, but that the two are inseparable.
“Extremism is the philosophical basis of terrorism,” Bai said. “Therefore, it is important to prevent and punish extremism in Xinjiang’s anti-terror campaign.”
The rules emphasize the importance of a mechanism for public reporting of terrorist activity. According to the rules, public security bureaus and state security organizations should be ready to receive information from the public.
Public support has been helpful in previous action against terrorists in Xinjiang, particularly in 2014, when an attack in Shache County killed dozens of civilians. More than 70 local people provided information on the suspects.
Li Wei, an antiterror expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that terrorist activity in Xinjiang will not disappear overnight.
“For the past 100 years, domestic and international hostile forces have been making trouble in Xinjiang, so the antiterror fight will be a long one,” he said.