Beijing: China is formulating a new national security law to safeguard security in the backdrop of a spurt in terrorist attacks in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.
A draft legislation which aims to be a "comprehensive and fundamental piece of legislation" was tabled today in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for its first reading.
Tabling the draft, Director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, Li Shishi, told lawmakers, "It was necessary to make a fundamental law on national security in accordance with the new contemporary environment."
It comes in the backdrop of some of the worst terrorist attacks in China this year by suspected militants of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an al-Qaeda backed militant body having support in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province.
The province has about 11 million Uygur Muslims and has been at the centre of a number of recent knife-wielding terrorist attacks.
There is considerable resentment among the Uygur Muslims over large scale settlements of the Han Chinese, China's majority ethnic group.
Last year, the militants had for the first time struck at the iconic Forbidden city at the Tiananmen square here followed by brutal knife attacks on the passengers at Kunming railway station this year in which 31 people were killed and over 140 were injured.
Xinjiang borders Afghanistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and a number of ETIM militants were stated to have been killed in air-raids by the Pakistan military at the terrorist safe havens in its northwest tribal areas.
Earlier this year, China has formed the National Security Council (NSC), headed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the lines of the US' National Security Agency (NSA).
A number of alleged militants who took part in attacks in Xinjiang has been sentenced to death by the courts under the stringent security laws.
The draft of the proposed legislation defines "national security" as a condition in which a country's government, sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity, the well-being of its people, the sustainable and healthy development of its economy and society, and other major interests are relatively safe and not subject to internal and external threats, as well as the capacity to safeguard the sustainability of such a secure condition.
It aims to "protect people's fundamental interests" and stipulates that when having multiple choices in the management and handling of national security crisis, "measures that best protect the rights and interests of citizens and organisations should be chosen".