China Considers Better Defining Terrorism

China says it is considering new legislation better defining terrorism in order to strengthen domestic and international efforts against such acts and those who would commit them.

A proposal before the national legislature would provide more specific legal definitions for terrorists and terrorist acts based on Chinese and international precedents, making it easier to bring terrorism charges, the official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday.

The proposal targets those using violence, sabotage or threats in hopes of intimidating or coercing governments or international organizations. Incitement, funding or providing other support would also be considered terrorism.

"Current legislation lacks specific regulations defining terrorism, terrorist organizations, and individual terrorists, affecting the fight against terrorism, control over terrorist assets, and international anti-terrorism cooperation," Xinhua said, quoting deputy Public Security Minister Yang Huanning.

It wasn't clear whether the proposal would result in a new law, or an amendment to the current one, which is rarely used because of a preference for prosecuting suspects under much vaguer laws against threatening social order.

China says it faces an organized terrorist threat from radical Muslim groups in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, although critics say Chinese economic policies and strict rules over cultural and religious expression are creating anger and resentment among locals.