China issues guideline detailing crime of advocating terrorism

File photo showing Chinese police officers taking position near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, on March 27, 2018.
File photo showing Chinese police officers taking position near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, on March 27, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - 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 a recently issued guideline.

The guideline, jointly released last Friday (June 15) by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice, extends to the use of online platforms. Those who use websites, forums or blogs, to post, copy, send, broadcast or present terrorist-related materials will face the same charge.

Advocating terrorism or extremism was added as a new crime in 2015, when China's top legislative body adopted the revised Criminal Law. But exactly what behaviours were criminal had not been clear until now.

"The guideline, with 16 articles, gives the answer," a statement of the top court said on Friday.

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

"Our aim is to maintain national security, maintain social stability and protect people's safety by strictly fighting and punishing terrorists and related activities."

Some other new terrorism-related crimes, such as aiding terrorist activities and preparing for terrorism, were also detailed in the guideline.

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

In addition, people who make, buy, store or transport explosives, or who open 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 guideline also names intermediate courts around the country that will take cases related to terrorist activities.

"Digital data in terrorist activities or related offences is allowed to be used as evidence," the statement said. The data can be frozen, but that should be approved by officials at county level or above, it said.

Although the guideline is designed to strictly punish terrorists, it also highlights the importance of education in handling terrorism-related cases, ordering the authorities to deal with the people involved in accordance with their roles.