China’s legislature authorised new guidelines on Saturday to define and combat terrorism, inching closer to international practices as the nation grapples with a sporadically violent rebellion in Central Asian border lands.
“Our country faces a real threat from terrorist activities, and the long-term, complex and sharp counterterrorism struggle is increasingly prominent,” Li told reporters after the legislative session.
Separatist sentiment among Uighurs, a Turkic and traditionally Muslim ethnic group, in China’s western Xinjiang region has occasionally erupted in riots, bombings and other acts of violence.
Despite pouring in billions of dollars in investment and the migration of millions of Han Chinese into the largely poor, remote territory, China has been unable to squelch the violence. A raid on a police station and an arson-stabbing attack took place in July.
Many attacks seem unsophisticated and directed against symbols of Chinese government power, like court houses or troop barracks.
The government and some security experts say that the violence is becoming more indiscriminate and is being carried out by militants trained and based across the border in Pakistan and with possible links to other radical Islamic groups.