Top court vows strict penalties for terror attacks

Updated: 2015-03-13 09:34

By Cao Yin and Cui Jia(China Daily)

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Chinese courts will continue to fight terrorism-related crimes and sentence attackers strictly this year to ensure national security and stability, the country's top court said on Thursday.

A report from the court said severe punishment, in accordance with the law, had been sought by courts last year for those who committed serious offenses, including violence and terrorism.

The work report of the Supreme People's Court was issued during the annual session of the nation's top legislature.

"This year, we will actively punish offenders in cases that bring great damage to the nation and the public - including terrorists and those using cults to breach the law - in an effort to safeguard the State and personal security," Zhou Qiang, the court's top judge, said.

Zhou was speaking during the third session of the 12th National People's Congress.

Last year, the top court published guidelines on tackling crimes involving terrorism and religious extremism with other authorities, Zhou said, adding that an innovative system to improve public security is being developed.

The report has been approved by NPC deputies, political advisers and judicial experts.

Guo Lianshan, Party secretary of the Xinjiang People's Procuratorate, said authorities in the autonomous region are fully prepared to handle terrorism-related cases.

"We've ensured that every article of our judicial document meets the requirements of the law, and have enhanced the efficiency of trials in this way," said Guo, who is also an NPC deputy.

Shi Jie, a political adviser and lawyer from Sichuan province, said, "The more terror attacks our public security bodies crack down on, the more cases will be sent to courts and tried."

Chinese courts heard and concluded 558 cases of separatism and terrorism last year, an increase of 14.8 percent year-on-year, the report stated.

A total of 712 people involved in the cases were convicted and punished, an increase of about 13 percent year-on-year, according to the report.

The cases heard included that of a jeep being crashed into a crowd in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square in October 2013 and a terrorist attack at Kunming Railway Station in March last year.

On June 16, a court in Xinjiang sentenced three terrorists involved in the Tian'anmen attack to death for organizing and leading a terrorist group to damage public security. Five other members of the group were given prison sentences ranging from five years to life.

On Oct 28, 2013, three terrorists from the group drove a jeep into a crowd near Jinshui Bridge in Tian'anmen Square, killing three people and injuring 39. The three suspects died at the scene when they set gasoline inside the vehicle on fire.

Song Yinghui, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said prisoners in the cases that had been concluded carried out the attacks with malicious intent, adding that their punishments were in accordance with the Criminal Law.

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