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China

China has not passed a comprehensive counterterrorism law.  Counterterrorism provisions are mainly found in the Criminal Law and State Security Law.  However, these laws do not provide a clear definition of “terrorism” or address extremism.  In 2011, the country’s top legislative body for the first time clearly defined the term “terrorist activities.”

Domestically, extremism is more a politicized notion appearing in government instruments than a precisely defined legal term.  In these instruments, extremism is linked with terrorism and separatism, which are rhetorically expressed as the “Three Forces” of “ethnic separatist forces, violent terrorist forces, and religious extremist forces.”  Extremism is addressed in very limited domestic legislation. 

China has entered into the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, which provides a definition of “extremism” and requires that acts of extremism be criminally prosecuted in conformity with the national laws of the parties. 

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Pakistan

Pakistan has principally adopted an antiterrorism legal framework in order to address extremist activity in the country.  Though Pakistan does not have a specific crime of “extremism” within its laws, it does have a series of other connected criminal offenses, primarily crimes against the state or incitement crimes, that form a close proximity to the crime of extremism defined under international conventions and statutes of other countries.  Such provisions can be found in Pakistan’s principal antiterrorism law, the Anti-terrorism Act, 1997, and in Pakistan’s Penal Code.  Pakistan’s antiterrorism law is enforced through specialized antiterrorism courts and a listing system to designate organizations and individuals involved with terrorism.  However, critics have called into question the effectiveness of the system to deal with terrorism.

More recently, however, Pakistan’s legal approach to combating terrorism and extremism has become increasingly militarized, with the establishment of specialized military courts to try suspected terrorists. 

Over the years Pakistan has also attempted, with little success, to regulate and reform the madrasa education system.  Besides legal regulations, Pakistan has also attempted to institute programs promoting “antiradicalization” and sectarian harmony in the country.

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Russia

The line between a hate crime and protected speech is not definitively established in the Russian Federation.  Federal law subjects to prosecution perpetrators of violent and nonviolent forms of extremism as these acts are defined by the Criminal Code, Code of Administrative Violations, and framework Law on Countering Extremist Activity.  The presence of a prejudicial motive appears to be a key factor in determining the extremist nature of an act, and if such a motivation is proven it is considered an aggravating circumstance.  Both individuals and organizations can be found responsible for extremism. Prosecution of extremist crimes is usually based on conclusions of experts who decide on the presence of an extremist component in the actions charged.  Information on materials deemed to be extremist is collected and published by the Ministry of Justice.  These materials are prohibited from being made publicly accessible.  Involvement in extremist activities is a reason for the state to impose restrictions on one’s political or professional activities, or to liquidate an organization whose leaders have been accused of extremism. Reportedly, these provisions are often used by the government to silence the opposition, and the authorities have been criticized for focusing on minor crimes.  In the summer of 2011, the Russian government identified the prevention of extremism as its major task, and an interagency commission on the subject has been established.  

This report analyzes Russian anti-extremist legislation and reviews the procedural aspects of its application. 

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Tajikistan

The fight against extremism in Tajikistan is aimed at preventing extremism and punishing those who are involved in extremist activities.  The necessity of fighting extremism is used by the government to justify its restrictions on religious freedom and its control over religious education and circulation of religious literature.  Organizations and individuals can be held administratively and criminally liable for violating antiextremist legislation or committing other crimes if these crimes were motivated by hatred.  Such offenders are most often accused of disseminating religious hatred.

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Last Updated: 01/12/2016