March 2, 2016 (The Standard) — The United States, Canada, Germany, Japan and the European Union have written to China to express concern over three new or planned laws, including one on counterterrorism, in a rare joint attempt to pressure Beijing into taking their objections seriously. The US, Canadian, German and Japanese ambassadors signed a letter addressed to State Councillor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun, voicing unease about the new counterterrorism law, the draft cyber security law, and a draft law on management of foreign nongovernmental organisations.
The cyber security and counterterrorism laws codify sweeping powers for the government to combat perceived threats, from widespread censorship to heightened control over certain technologies.
Critics of the counterterrorism legislation, for one, say that it could be interpreted in such a way that even non-violent dissidents could fall within its definition of terrorism.
The four ambassadors said areas of the counterterrorism law, which the National People’s Congress passed in December, were vague and could create a “climate of uncertainty” among investors. They did not specify which areas.