China's counter-terrorism-related ministries jointly issued a guideline on legal procedures and penalty standards for terrorist crimes, which experts predict will deter offenders.
Jointly issued by four departments - Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), Supreme People's Court (SPC), Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) - the guideline said people who write, publish, broadcast or advocate terrorism-related content online, will be criminally liable.
Published on the SPP website on Friday, the guideline aims to "safeguard national security, social stability and ensure public safety by punishing terrorism and extremism."
The guideline also specifies the crimes of aiding terrorist activities, preparing terrorist activities and wearing clothes or symbols which advocate terrorism and extremism.
The guideline provides a legal basis and clear punishment standard for the country to deal with acts against social stability, especially in border regions such as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies expert and professor at Beijing's Minzu University of China, told the Global Times on Monday.
In China, terrorism- and extremism-related behavior is getting more visible online. The guideline will deter potential violators, Xiong said.
According to the guideline, "Digital data in terrorist activities or related offenses is allowed as evidence."
"People who get involved in terrorism and extremism-related crimes should be rehabilitated, but should be treated differently," the guideline says.
The international trend of adopting anti-terrorism regulations can be found in the UK, the US and France, Li Wei, a counter-terrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times. "Suspects tend to engage in terrorist activities under the pretext of religion."
Criminals should be treated differently in accordance with the seriousness of their crimes, not their religion or nationalities, and those who are pressured into extremism should be taught about its hazard. People who directly participate in terror-linked activities should be punished accordingly based on Criminal Law, Li said. "Education, rather than reactive punishment, is the ultimate solution."
Separately, Zhao Kezhi, the minister of the MPS and head of the National Counter-terrorism Leading Group, completed a four-day visit on Friday to Xinjiang on anti-terrorism, Xinjiang Daily reported on Saturday.
Zhao visited Urumqi and southern Xinjiang areas, including Hotan, Kashgar, and the Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous prefectures, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
"Zhao went to Xinjiang as the minister of the MPS for the first time. Xinjiang's stability will continue to be an important mission of the department, especially in southern Xinjiang, where terrorist activities are rampant," Xiong noted.
Zhao also visited the family of a police officer in Kashgar, who died 20 years ago in an explosion, capitalnews, a WeChat account affiliated with the Beijing Daily, reported.
"Zhao's visit encouraged police officers in Xinjiang to actively devote to maintaining regional stability," Xiong noted.