Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region will launch a new anti-extremism regulation within the year as well as approve a regional Cybersecurity Law as early as this month.
Dong Xinguang, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang People's Congress, told the Global Times on Thursday that the anti-extremism regulation and Xinjiang's Cybersecurity Law will be reviewed at a Xinjiang People's Congress standing committee meeting this month.
"If approved, they will be released in March. Otherwise, they will be released no later than the end of this year," Dong said, adding that the autonomous region urgently needs both laws.
According to Dong, Xinjiang's legislature has been mulling an anti-extremism regulation for three years.
"Unlike the counterterrorism law, the anti-extremism regulation has no national law to support it, therefore, it will be only released as a regional regulation," Dong noted.
Xinjiang passed its own version of the counterterrorism law in August 2016. The regional law is a supplement to the national counterterrorism law approved in December 2015 to define terrorist activities and the corresponding punishment. Xinjiang's regional counterterrorism law added new provisions, including one which states that leaders of extremist groups will be placed in solitary confinement, and that recruiting people for terrorist activities would be considered an act of terrorism.
Dong said the anti-extremism regulation differs from the counterterrorism law in that it aims to prevent the spread of extremist ideas, whereas the counterterrorism law deals with terrorist acts.
"Drafting the anti-extremism regulation is complicated. Lawmakers need to distinguish between ethnic habits and extremist practices, and understand that not all extremist ideas constitute a crime. This is why the regulation is taking as long as three years to launch. The local legislature needs to consult various groups, including ethnic leaders and the religious personnel," Dong noted.
He declined to provide further details.
As for Xinjiang's Cybersecurity Law, Dong said that the regional legislature has been considering it for some time and has been waiting for the top legislature, the National People's Congress, to first approve the national Cybersecurity Law.
"Many of the terror activities are spread on the Internet. Unlike other regions in China where the Cybersecurity Law mainly involves economic entities, Xinjiang has its own cyber concerns to deal with," Dong said.