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China state security arrests ‘surge’

AFP-JIJI

China arrested more than 1,000 people for “endangering state security” in 2012, up nearly 20 percent from the previous year, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

The number of arrests on the charge — commonly brought against ethnic minorities — rose 19 percent to reach 1,105, the U.S.-based Dui Hua Foundation said in a statement, citing official figures.

The offense of “endangering state security” replaced that of “counterrevolution” in the 1990s, and is primarily aimed at suppressing dissent. It applies to “splittism,” or attempts to advocate independence for regions of China, as well as actions including espionage. More than 75 percent of trials for suspects accused of the charge in 2012 took place in the ethnically divided region of Xinjiang, home to the predominantly Muslim Uighur minority, the group said.