China is expected to pass new anti-terrorism laws on Sunday which would require technology companies to provide information to the government from technology products and make information systems “secure and controllable.” The proposed laws have been criticized by western organizations and the US Department of State [official website]. Critics of the law believe that it may not effectively target terrorism and it could restrict citizens’ freedoms of expression and association. However, officials for the Chinese government have said [Reuters report] that the law is necessary to combat serious threats of terrorism, and that the country needs to pass laws to defend against cyber threats.
Many nations have passed anti-terrorism laws in recent years that have been criticized by the UN and other advocacy groups. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi [BBC profile] approved [JURIST report] a 54-article counter-terrorism law in August, which has been met with significant controversy as many believe it to be an infringement on freedom of the press. Tunisia’s parliament voted to approve a new anti-terror law despite strong criticism [JURIST report] from NGOs and human rights groups in July. In January Amnesty International [advocacy website] called on [JURIST report] Pakistan to stop sentencing people for violation of the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act, which they described as “so vague that almost all crimes fall under [its] definition.” Nine bloggers were jailed in Ethiopia in April 2014 for violation of Ethiopia’s broad anti-terrorism laws, but five of the bloggers were acquitted [JURIST report] in October.