China introduces cellphone log to combat terrorism

BEIJING – China is to introduce a cellphone and computer registration scheme in the restive northwestern Xinjiang region, official media reported Friday.

The English-language Shanghai Daily, citing local officials, said the measure was “in response to the spread of terrorist recordings.”

Xinjiang has seen a string of attacks over the past year amid tension between the minority Muslim Uighur population and Han Chinese. This has led to a security crackdown in which hundreds of people have been arrested and dozens executed.

Beijing blames the violence on Uighur separatists but activists claim China's policies towards Uighur are repressive and fuel resentment.

Under the new telecommunications rules, vendors are required to upload buyers’ personal details to a police-run data system, regional news portal www.iyaxin.com said Thursday.

Local media did not say when the new rules would be introduced.

Some locations, such as electronics malls, will have to have surveillance cameras, the footage from which must be kept for at least 30 days.

The selling of unregistered “black cards” for phone or wifi services will be banned. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said black cards could be used to spread pornography, commit fraud and organize terrorism.

In June, the government said the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a militant separatist group, had produced and spread 109 “terror-related” recordings in 2013.

Such video and audio files have been a feature of attacks in Xinjiang, the government claimed. These included attacks in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi in April and May last year that killed 42 people.

Last July, 32 people were jailed for spreading terrorist-related audios and videos and organizing terrorist groups, the Daily said.

In another effort to curb terrorism, Xinjiang will introduce registration for people buying fireworks for Chinese New Year on Feb. 19.

The Uighur are an ethnic Turkic group that makes up around 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency