Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, March 11, 2003

China Joins Frontline Against Terrorism: Interview

A top public security official said Monday the fight against terrorism demanded major and long-term commitments from the international community.


A top public security official said Monday the fight against terrorism demanded major and long-term commitments from the international community.

China has actively co-operated in the war on terror under bilateral and multilateral mechanism backed by the United Nations, while working with the international police agency Interpol and other regional organizations, said Vice-Minister of Public Security Zhu Entao during an exclusive interview with China Daily.

"We also support international efforts to combat terrorism in various forms, including blocking the financial resources of terrorists as requested by UN and Interpol,'' he added. Zhu is also a special representative to the ongoing session of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

China urges all UN members to sign and approve international conventions to counter terrorism as soon as possible, he said.

Zhu said co-operation should be based on these conventions and resolutions, while more information on cross-border terrorist activities should be shared.

He said anti-terrorism laws should also be strengthened to provide important legal weapons to prevent, fight and punish all forms of terrorism.

In December 2001, the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People's Congress approved an amendment to the Criminal Law, adding 17 new crimes related to terrorism carrying serious penalties, Zhu said.

Zhu said the newly-established anti-terrorism bureau under the Ministry of Public Security would analyze information, co-ordinate campaigns and provide advice to combat terrorism.

Furthermore, the bureau will also conduct investigations into terrorist organizations and maintain contact with international anti-terrorism agencies, he said.

In another development, deputies to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) and CPPCC members urged the top legislature to draft a law on how to manage emergencies such as terrorist acts, epidemics, major accidents and disasters.

"Legislation is necessary. Otherwise, an emergency situation could turn into a social crisis if rumours are widely spread,'' Xia Zhining, a NPC deputy from Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, said.

Xia advised the central government to establish a specialized system and department to deal with emergencies, highlighting the need to release information to the public immediately after an emergency happens.

Xia's views were echoed by Huang Deming, a NPC deputy from South China's Guangdong Province, and CPPCC member Chen Zufen, in their motion and proposal.

"We should strive to establish a scientific early-warning system through legislation,'' said Huang.

"International assistance should also be sought if necessary,'' Huang noted.

The motion recommended that the relevant authorities publish guides for residents on how to respond to emergencies, including fires, explosions and traffic accidents.

For example, late last month two explosions went off only 90 minutes apart in dining halls at Beijing's top universities, injuring nine people.

Huang Minxiang, suspected of the bombings, was caught in Fuzhou on Saturday and brought back to Beijing by police after being on the run for 10 days. (China Daily news)

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