Draft rule unveiled for freezing terrorist assets

Updated: 2013-05-24 17:51


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BEIJING - The government on Friday started seeking public opinions on a draft rule on cutting off funding for terrorist activity as part of the country's coordinated efforts to fight terrorism.

Funds and assets used by both terrorist groups and facilitators of terrorist activity should be frozen immediately after a list of such groups or people is confirmed by authorities, according to the new draft rule.

The document, jointly drafted by the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Ministry of State Security, will open to public discussion until June 23.

The draft rule is intended to put into practice a decision adopted in October 2011 by China's top legislature for strengthening counter-terrorism efforts that urges improving the mechanism for freezing terrorist-related assets, according to a PBOC statement.

Li Wei, a research fellow in counter-terrorism studies with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, called the draft "a significant move" for China in strengthening its fight against terrorism.

The new document will likely to provide a clearer action plan and legal ground for cutting off funding channels for terrorist activity, he said.

When a list of terrorist groups and facilitators of terrorist activity is announced by the MPS, a decision to freeze the funds and assets of such groups or people will also be made by the ministry, according to the draft.

Relevant financial institutions and specified non-financial entities should immediately place a hold on relevant funds and assets, the document says.

The size of the frozen funds and information concerning the number, ownership, location and trade of frozen assets should be reported in written form to local public security and state security authorities.

The draft says that financial institutions and specified non-financial entities should inform concerned clients or their representatives about the freeze, as well as the grounds and reason for the freeze, unless they are asked by security authorities to refrain from doing so.

When the institutions have reason to suspect that funds or assets are being used by terrorist groups or the facilitators of terrorist activity, they should immediately take necessary measures to restrict trade of the funds or assets, according to the draft.

As a follow-up step, a request should be made by the institutions to confirm with the MPS whether the suspected links exist or not.

"For terrorists, money is something that is very important," Li said, adding China is paying closer attention to the flow of funds in order to block funding for terrorist activity.