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People's Daily Online

China approves first anti-terror law amid controversies

People's Daily Online

Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:11AM

China has adopted its first counter-terrorism legislation despite criticism that it could tighten media controls and threaten privacy as well as intellectual property rights in the East Asian state.

All 159 lawmakers present at the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress in the capital, Beijing, voted for the law on Sunday afternoon.

It is the "latest attempt to address terrorism at home and help maintain world security," China's official Xinhua news agency said, without elaborating on details of the new law.

Draft of the anti-terror regulation included provisions which could require technology firms to install "back doors" in their products or provide Beijing with encryption keys.

Earlier this week, the US State Department expressed "serious concerns" about the law, saying it would do more harm than good against the threat of terrorism.

China, however, hit back, stressing that technology companies had nothing to worry about and Washington had no right to interfere.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, said the new law would "not have any restriction on the lawful activities of enterprises. It will not leave back doors, and it will not impede freedom of expression online or the intellectual property rights of enterprises."

The new legislation comes as Beijing has stepped up clampdown on the ethnic Muslim Uighur minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, arguing that China faces a campaign from radicals and separatists.

Rights groups, however, have over the past years intensified criticism of Beijing for launching a crackdown on dissent in Xinjiang, saying the policies have created an atmosphere of repression and could lead to more violence in the area.

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