WORLD : China Passes Law on Protests

From Times Wire Services

China's legislature today passed a law on public demonstrations including tough provisions banning rallies that infringe upon state interests or social order.

The law on assembly and demonstration to take effect immediately was passed on the final day of the current session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

New China News Agency said the law is aimed at protecting citizens' legal rights to gather, parade and demonstrate while safeguarding social stability and public order. But the final version, revised three times since July, provides the state wide latitude to stop public gatherings that may be critical of government policy.

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