Twelve persons have been arrested between January and March in China’s restive Muslim-majority Xinjiang province for allegedly spreading extremist, separatist and fake news content online. The regional public security bureau arrested 12 persons, state-run Global Times quoted Xinjiang’s cyberspace administration office as saying. Xinjiang province in China is restive for several years due to the resentment by Uygurs over increasing settlements of Han population from other provinces.
China blames separatist ETIM (East Turkistan Islamic Movement), an Al-Qaeda affiliated group, for the spate of violent attacks in and out of the province. A number of its members, reported to have joined Islamic State (IS) terror group to fight in Syria and Beijing, apprehends that they would return to carry out more attacks. The suspects allegedly spread information on terrorism, violence, religious extremism and separatism, as well as rumours, “fake news,” insults and defamatory statements, the Global Times report said.
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Four of the 11 cases involved pro-terrorist content, two others on religious extremism, while the other two allegedly spread “fake” reports on terrorism, it said.
Anyone who uses cell phones, Internet, mobile storage devices or other media to disseminate terrorist or extremist ideas will be charged with terror offences, the report quoted Xinjiang’s anti-terrorism regulations, adopted in 2016 as saying.
Xinjiang is expected to approve a regional cyber-security regulation this month, Dong Xinguang, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang People’s Congress, previously told the daily.