Sunday, December 27, 2015

New law allows China's People's Liberation Army to undertake counter terror missions overseas.

New law allows China's People's Liberation Army to undertake counter terror missions overseas. (NewsIcrosschina).

A new Counterterrorism Law makes it legal for China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) to get involved in antiterror operations abroad.

According to the law approved by China's top legislature on Sunday afternoon, the PLA and China's armed police forces could carry out counterterror missions overseas with the approval of the Central Military Commission.

Public security and national security authorities could also send personnel overseas for counter-terrorist missions, but these must be approved by the State Council and agreements signed with the countries concerned.

China has studied U.S. and European Union laws in drafting its own counterterrorism bill which requires tech firms to assist security authorities to prevent and investigate terrorism, an legislative official said here Sunday.

At a press conference held at the end of a week-long session of China's top legislature, Li Shouwei of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee legislative affairs commission, admitted that a number of countries and enterprises had voiced concerns about certain provisions in the law.

He pointed to Article 18 of the new law, which requires telecom operators and internet service providers to provide technical support and assistance, including decryption, to police and national security authorities in prevention and investigation of terrorist activities.

Li said the rule accorded with the actual work need of fighting terrorism and was basically the same as what other major countries in the world do.

"The clause reflects lessons China has learnt from other countries and is a result of wide solicitation of public opinion," he added.

"(It) will not affect companies' normal business nor install backdoors to infringe intellectual property rights, or ... citizens freedom of speech on the internet and their religious freedom," Li said.    

The law, which goes into effect January 1, was criticized by Western countries while it was being drafted, particularly over its cyber provisions. U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. State Department objected publicly to the law's requirement that overseas technology firms submit product encryption keys to the Chinese government as a condition for doing business in China.

 A key is a way of encoding messages so that two parties using communications software can exchange messages privately without fear of eavesdropping.

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