Special bureau to tackle terror

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2002, 12:00am

The Ministry of Public Security will establish a special bureau to direct and co-ordinate the mainland's campaign against terrorism, the Beijing-backed Wen Wei Po newspaper reported yesterday.

The bureau - to be set up later this year - will have a police unit under its command responsible for preventing attacks and keeping suspected terrorists out of the country. The unit will specifically monitor border crossings, visa applications and airline security.

A women's military unit trained in anti-terrorism tactics and previously part of the Sichuan Armed Special Police, will also join the new unit, the report said.

The National People's Congress last week passed an amendment to make acts of terrorism, including the spreading of biological or chemical agents, capital offences. Penalties for theft of arms, ammunition, explosives or poisonous, radioactive or contagious substances range from a minimum of 10 years in prison to death.

Meanwhile, authorities in Xinjiang Autonomous Region are stepping up a campaign to root out those official media called extremists who declared a holy war on the mainland.

A public security bureau in a remote county in Xinjiang recently issued a deadline for 'ethnic separatists and illegal religious groups' including the Falun Gong to turn themselves in, the China News Service reported yesterday.

The Bayin'guoleng Mongolia Autonomous County Public Security Bureau offered activists a deadline of early February for lenient treatment.

The bureau issued the deadline when it learned that an illegal Islamic group, dubbed the 'Taibilike', had reportedly called for a holy war.

'Those members who turn themselves in and admit their illegal behaviour will receive, according to the law, lesser punishment and may not be further investigated,' the bureau announcement said.

'Those suspected criminals who stubbornly resist to the end will receive the severest punishment and no possibility of pardon.'