Hong Kong—Tibet’s public security department will reward people up to 300,000 yuan for providing clues about terrorist attacks, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
Since last year, public security departments in Xinjiang, the restive Uyghur autonomous region, Beijing, Shenzhen, and other major provinces and cities have introduced incentives to encourage people to report terrorism related clues.
The newly released incentive calls for terrorism related clues such as domestic and abroad terrorist organizations’ activities, spreading of religious extremism, arms deals and etc., even though little terrorist attacks have occurred in Tibet so far.
Amounts of rewards vary in terms of importance and time sequence. No rewards for anonymous source; people fabricating and disseminating false terrorist information shall be subject to legal liability.
China has been facing increasing terrorist attacks since the July 2009 Urumqi riots, which started as a protest about conflicts between ethnic groups and Han people but escalated into violent attacks, leaving 197 died and 1721 injured, according to Chinese official. In 2014, China ranked 32nd in a report released by the Maplecroft Terrorism and Security Dashboard.
In response, China is modifying its National Anti-terrorism Act draft suggesting to establish Anti-terrorism Information Center and cross-department information operation mechanism. Yet, the Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, worried the draft would commit human rights abuses under the name of counterterrorism.
The HRW pointed out that the draft’s definition of terrorism (“thought, speech, or behavior” that attempt to “influence national policy-making,” “subvert state power,” or “split the state”) was so vague that it can apply to anyone advocating for policy changes.
Last year, the well-known Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment on separatism-related charges, which aroused controversy at home and abroad.
“Targeting people for attack is never justified, but committing human rights violations is no way to stop such horrific violence,” said Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “The Chinese government needs to respect rights, not build a new architecture of surveillance.”
On the other hand, China keeps trying to justify its anti-terrorism actions. Last September, the overseas edition of People daily covered the 7th Beijing Human Rights Forum with a headline, Anti-terrorism is by no means the opposite of protecting human rights.