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China dismisses US concerns over its first anti-terror law draft

Chinese state media yesterday reported that the draft law may also further restrict media from reporting the details of terror attacks.

Updated: Dec 23, 2015, 09.37 PM IST
BEIJING: China today dismissed US criticism of the draft of its first anti-terror bill, asking Washington to desist from applying "double standards" on terrorism, amid concerns that the controversial law may tighten media controls and threaten intellectual property of foreign tech firms.

"We hope the United States will stop groundless accusations and respect China's law-making processes," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

The Chinese response came after the US State Department expressed "serious concerns" over the draft of China's first anti-terror law, which could be passed before the years ends.

The draft legislation has attracted concerns from the West as it could require technology firms to hand over sensitive information such as encryption keys to the government.

But Hong said said as the Internet is frequently used by terrorists in planning and conducting attacks, countries including the US enacted laws obligating operators and service providers to providing assistance to law enforcement agencies.

He tried to dismiss Western concerns, saying items in the draft anti-terrorism bill is completely reasonable and will not constitute a breach of corporate intellectual property rights or citizens' freedom of speech.

He said Washington's criticism showed a "double standard" on terrorism.

Chinese state media yesterday reported that the draft law may also further restrict media from reporting the details of terror attacks.

The law -- currently having another reading by a standing committee of China's largely rubber-stamp National People's Congress -- is being drafted as China wages a controversial campaign to wipe out ethnic violence, mostly liked to the volatile Xinjiang region.

China has launched a controversial police crackdown against separatists it says are behind the violence.

Hong said increasing terrorist attacks have posed serious threats to China's national security and the life and property of its people. China's legislation on terrorism is completely necessary to prevent and crack down on terrorism, he said.

Fighting terrorism itself is part of the efforts to protect human rights, and the Chinese government attaches importance to striking a balance between anti-terrorism measures and protection of human rights, Hong said.

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