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Draft takes aim at terrorism

By Zhang Yan  (China Daily)

08:05, May 24, 2013

New rules forbid raising money for subversive people and groups

A draft regulation aiming to cut funds for terrorist activities began soliciting public opinion on Thursday in a measure that will assist the country's fight against terrorism.

The draft regulation on freezing the assets of terrorists and terrorist groups was published by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council on its website on Thursday. The office is soliciting public opinion until June 23.

The draft — compiled jointly by the People's Bank of China, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security — forbids anyone or any group to provide or raise funds for terrorist organizations and their members.

The draft also stipulates that no one should supply any form of service to or facilitate terrorism, it said. The draft stipulates that financial institutions and certain non-financial institutions should freeze funds and other assets related to terrorist organizations and their members, according to a list released by the Ministry of Public Security.

These institutions should report any suspicious transaction, and should keep secret the freezing of funds.

Government employers who disclose information that results in terrorist organizations illegally transferring or concealing their assets before being frozen could face criminal charges.

"Funding support is the lifeline for terrorist organizations. The introduction of this regulation is essential for attacking terrorism, as freezing their assets will deal a heavy blow to them," said Dai Peng, director of the criminal investigation department under the People's Public Security University of China.

Dai said capital is considered the lifeblood because terrorists and their organizations must constantly raise funds for recruiting new members, providing training, purchasing weapons and planning terrorist actions.

A bank employee in Beijing, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said his bank is willing to cooperate and follow the provisions.

Terrorist organizations and terrorists usually disguise their identities in the name of setting up trading companies, then conduct many fake business deals to carry out transactions in the banks, he said.

"Once adopted, the regulation will provide us the legal basis to monitor suspicious transactions and freeze their funds and assets in a timely manner," he said, adding relevant fund-freezing information will be provided as solid evidence for police to uncover terrorist crimes.

The draft regulation comes as police have encountered some obstacles in previous anti-terrorism efforts in which banks have been reluctant to provide information about the involved suspects' accounts, posing obstacles for police seeking evidence, said Jiang Guoli, a senior police officer from the Ministry of Public Security.

"Banks weren't willing to freeze the funds and other assets for fear of losing customers amid intense competition," he said.

Dai said that in the short term, the freezing of assets will hurt the banks, but the introduction of the draft "will play a major positive role in fighting against money-laundering crimes and terrorist financing".

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