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China passes controversial new anti-terror laws

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China has passed controversial new anti-terrorism laws, saying they are needed to combat growing threats. The new laws, passed in China's legislature, create a new anti-terror agency and security forces with significant powers. Critics say the laws are too broad and can be used against dissidents and religious minorities.

Under the new law, China will have a single counter-terrorism body which the country's public security ministry says "will be in charge of identifying terrorist activities and personnel, and coordinate nationwide anti-terrorist work".

The Chinese government is keen that the undoubtedly tough measures it takes there are viewed as "counter-terrorism" (similar to measures taken by Western countries) rather than as the oppression of an ethnic minority.The law will also give the authorities greater rights to monitor private communications. Just like in other countries, the government says this will not infringe liberty.