Court names new extremism-related crimes

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-11-2 0:48:01

Wearing ‘extremist garments’ among 20 offenses added to Criminal Law

Forcing others to wear extremist garments is considered a crime in China, according to a judicial interpretation and new amendment to China's Criminal Law enacted on Sunday.

A judicial interpretation issued by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) and the Supreme People's Court on Friday stipulates that forcing others to wear clothes or symbols associated with terrorism and extremism while spreading terrorism and extremism is considered a crime. Anyone who violently forces others to wear such garments will be put under surveillance, detained, or face a maximum of three years in prison.

Neither the amendment nor the interpretation by the SPP provided further details about what constitutes extremist garments or symbols under the law.

Turgunjan Tursun, a research fellow at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that it is not common for people in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to wear such garments these days.

He said that most of those who wear clothes or symbols associated with terrorism and extremism have been forced to do so, and some have been fooled into doing so by being told that what they are wearing is normal religious costume. They are often regarded as "traitors" if they do not wear the garments, he added.

Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times  that although the law alone cannot eradicate the spread of extremism, it does provide a legal shield for common people to defend themselves when threatened by extremists.

Both experts agreed that some extremists have forced others to wear extremist attire in the name of protecting their religion, which itself is a violation of religious freedom.

Li said that recent efforts against extremism are not simply part of a political mission.

"Extremist ideology influences every aspect of people's daily life, and more detailed and long-term measures are needed to eradicate extremism," Li said, citing education as a way to help people distinguish normal religious beliefs from extremist ones.

In January, the local legislature in Xinjiang adopted a regulation banning the wearing of the burqa, a garment worn by some Muslim women to cover their faces and bodies, in public places in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, the Xinhua  News Agency reported.

Gong Xiaojun, a resident of Urumqi who repeatedly refused local policemen's requests that he shave his full beard and allow his wife to not wear a burqa, was sentenced to two years behind bars by a local court in 2014 for resisting the requests of a public servant, according to the criminal judgement in his case.

"We Uyghur people don't like to see women wear such kinds of clothes either, and by covering the eyes, the burqa represents some kind of backwardness," Shewket Imin, an official of the Xinjiang Committee of the Communist Party of China, was quoted by Xinhua in September.

Posted in: Law

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