SHAFAQNA – The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Chinese government to revise the draft legislation of a new anti-terrorism law.
The group’s China director, Sophie Richardson, on Tuesday called for the draft law to be brought in line with international legal standards.
“The Chinese government needs to respect rights, not build a new architecture of surveillance,” Richardson said in a statement, adding, “While terrorism poses grave threats to society, overbroad and abusive counterterrorism measures can also inflict grave harm and exacerbate conflict.”
The law, which was made public for consultation last November, would require all telecommunications and Internet service providers to help the Beijing government in preventing the spread of terrorism-related content.
China’s government has defended the law, stressing that the nation is facing a serious and complex struggle against terrorism.
This comes as hundreds of people have been killed over the past two years in the far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur minority.
In one incident, assailants lobbed explosives and plowed two vehicles through a market in Urumqi in May last year. Nearly 40 people including four attackers were killed and 90 others were injured.
Also in April, 2014, three people, including two attackers, were killed and nearly 80 injured when assailants armed with knives and explosives attacked a train station in Urumqi.
Over the past two years in Xinjiang, clashes involving local police and Uighurs have claimed at least 200 lives.
The government blames Uighurs for the violence. Uighurs reject the accusation.
Exiled Uighurs and human rights activists say the government’s “repressive policies” in Xinjiang have provoked discontent – a claim Beijing denies.