Beijing guidelines specify crime of inciting terrorism

BEIJING • China has issued guidelines on the persecution of those who use online platforms to promote or incite terrorism or extremism, three years after the country named the acts as a criminal offence.

People who write, publish, print, spread or broadcast terrorist-related materials, including books, pictures or videos, will be charged with the crime of advocating or inciting terrorism or extremism, according to the guidelines released last Friday by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the public security and justice ministries.

Those who use websites, forums or blogs to post, copy, send, broadcast or present terrorist-related materials will face the same charge, according to the guidelines.

Digital data can be used as evidence, the guidelines stated.

"Our aim is to maintain national security, maintain social stability and protect people's safety by strictly fighting and punishing terrorists and related activities," a statement from the top court said on Friday.

While China's top legislative body formally criminalised the promotion of terrorism or extremism in 2015, what exactly constitutes the crime had not been clear until now.

"The guideline, with 16 articles, gives the answer," said the top court in its statement.

"It specifies the crime and some other new terrorist-related charges in the law, as well as clarifies how the four authorities - police, prosecution, justice ministry and courts - should cooperate with each other to combat terrorism."

Several new terrorism-related crimes, such as aiding terrorist activities and preparation for terrorism, were also detailed in the guidelines.

For example, people who provide money or facilities for terrorists, or those who assist in their illegal entry and exit, will be charged with aiding terrorist activities.

In addition, people who make, buy, store or transport explosives, or who conduct training classes or organise people to watch terrorism-related videos with the aim of promoting terrorist activities, will face the charge of preparing for terrorist activities.

The guidelines also name the intermediate courts around the country that will try cases related to terrorist activities.

Although the guidelines are designed to punish terrorists, they also highlight the importance of education in handling terrorism-related cases, the statement added.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Beijing guidelines specify crime of inciting terrorism'. Print Edition | Subscribe