China passed a new anti-terrorism law on Dec. 27 that critics say exploits fears of terrorism in order to extract sensitive information from technology companies.
Tech firms strenuously objected to the law that was unanimously passed by Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament. The new law states that telecom operators and Internet service providers must “provide technical support and assistance, including decryption” to Chinese authorities in their investigations into terrorist activities.
Chinese officials said the law was necessary due to an increased threat from militants and separatists, particularly in the Western region of Xinjiang. Rights groups, however, say it is unlikely a “cohesive militant group” exists in Xinjiang. Most unrest in the region, they say, originates from the region’s Muslim Uighur community which is angry over government restrictions on its religion and culture.
“This rule accords with the actual work need of fighting terrorism and is basically the same as what other major countries in the world do,” Li Shouwei, deputy head of the parliament’s criminal law division under the legislative affairs committee, told reporters.
Full article: China exploits terror threat in West to gain access to foreign tech firms (World Tribune)