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China has paid special attention to the protection of human rights in the legal framework

Terrorism is the common enemy of human society and the elimination of terrorism is the common responsibility of the international community. However, the world is facing different forms and methods of terrorism and it is practically impossible for the rule of law against terrorism to be uniform everywhere. After years of development and improvement, China’s anti-terrorism legal system has achieved harmony and unification in the concept of the rule of law and international anti-terrorism principles. As a result of which there are laws for counter-terrorism, the correct application of the laws has been guaranteed and the implementation of these laws has been ensured in the true sense. Special attention was paid to the protection of human rights in the anti-terrorism process, including personal freedom, personal dignity, right to defense, right to know, right to participate, etc. For example, the Anti-Terrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China clearly states that anti-terrorism efforts must respect the freedom of citizens’ religious beliefs and national customs and traditions and any discrimination on regional, national, religious and other grounds is prohibited.
China’s State Council Information Office released a white paper entitled “China’s Anti-Terrorism Legal System and Practices”, It systematically reviews China’s anti-terrorism legal process and measures to improve the relevant legal system, and explains China’s practical concepts and experience.
Besides the preface and conclusion, the white paper consists of five parts: “An Improving Legal Framework for Counterterrorism,” “Clear Provisions for the Determination and Punishment of Terrorist Activities,” “Standardized Exercise of Power in Fighting Terrorism,” “Protection of Human Rights in Counterterrorism Practices” and “Effective Protection of People’s Safety and National Security.”
Terrorism is the common enemy of humanity, posing a grave threat to international peace and security, and representing a challenge to all countries and all humanity, the white paper noted. “All members of the international community share the responsibility to fight it,” it said.
The document said that as a victim of terrorism, China has long faced its real threat. China has always attached great importance to law-based counterterrorism efforts, and has accumulated experience by concluding or joining international conventions and treaties and amending and improving criminal laws, it added.
Over the years, China has found a path of law-based counterterrorism that conforms to its realities by establishing a sound legal framework, promoting strict, impartial, procedure-based law enforcement, and ensuring impartial administration of justice and effective protection of human rights, according to the document.
China has amended and improved its criminal laws, made a counterterrorism law, and upgraded the counterterrorism provisions of other relevant laws, according to the white paper, adding that this has strengthened systematic coordination among laws, closed legal loopholes, improved areas of weakness, and formed synergy in counterterrorism practice.
Thanks to more than four decades of experience, a counterterrorism legal framework based on the Constitution has been gradually formed in China, said the white paper.
In the legal framework, the Counterterrorism Law is the centerpiece, the criminal laws and National Security Law play major roles and other laws serve as supplements, according to the document.
It also covers administrative regulations, judicial interpretations, local regulations, and departmental and local government rules, added the document.
According to the white paper, China actively promotes improved terrorism prevention standards in key sectors and localities, formulates or revises counterterrorism contingency plans, and encourages and supports counterterrorism-related scientific research and technological innovation.
China also relies on the public in working to counter terrorism.
The Chinese government has succeeded in curbing the spread of terrorism, protecting citizens’ rights to life, health and property, and maintaining social stability, while taking firm actions to protect the lawful rights and interests of citizens and organizations, and guard against discrimination based on geographical area, ethnic group, or religion, the white paper said.
In handling cases involving terrorist offenses and crimes, China gives equal weight to safeguarding the basic rights of citizens, preserving social order, and protecting the rights of victims and interested persons as well as suspects, defendants and convicts, according to the document.
The document said that efforts are made to guarantee the rights to defense, information and participation, legal relief, as well as court proceedings in ethnic spoken and written languages, among others.
While striking hard at unlawful and criminal terrorist activities, China attaches greater importance to the education and rehabilitation of victims of extremist teachings who have committed only minor offenses, said the document.
Relevant government departments, women’s associations and other social organizations, religious groups, schools, and families collaborate to offer targeted intervention measures, in order to protect them from further harmful impact, it said.
The white paper also noted that China has regulated procedures for handling terrorist cases in accordance with the law, with case management responsibility implemented, and external oversight strengthened to ensure the standardized and orderly exercise of power in handling such cases.
It added that China has joined 12 global counterterrorism conventions and facilitated the formulation of documents such as the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States Agreement on Border Defense Cooperation.
“China has safeguarded national and public security, protected people’s lives and property, and contributed to global and regional security and stability,” it said.
Counterterrorism approaches that champion the common values of humanity, comply with the norms and principles of the United Nations, and conform to their own national conditions and legal institutions, are all part of the global efforts to combat terrorism under the rule of law, according to the white paper.
Upholding the vision of a global community of shared future, China is willing to work closely with other countries to push forward counterterrorism cause as part of global governance, said the document.
In the conclusion of the document it was said that “Different paths can lead to the same end, and consensus can be reached despite varied concerns. Counterterrorism must be on the right side of the rule of law, a principle widely acknowledged by the international community. Due to different political systems, legal institutions, and cultural traditions, different countries are confronted with different forms and manifestations of terrorism, and are thus applying different legal practices in combating terrorism.
China’s counterterrorism legal framework has improved over the past four decades, aligning China’s rule of law essentials with international counterterrorism principles. The legal framework in place works well both in preventing and punishing terrorist activities, and in respecting and protecting human rights. It conforms to China’s realities and international norms, and has yielded satisfactory and practical results. Upholding the vision of a global community of shared future, China is willing to work closely with other countries to push forward counterterrorism cause as part of global governance. On the basis of equality and respect, China will engage in extensive exchanges, cooperation, and mutual learning to facilitate the global effort to counter terrorism.

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