No name, no phone in Xinjiang

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, January 30, 2015
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People in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will have to register their details when buying cellphones and computers, under new rules.

According to officials, the measure is to prevent people spreading harmful information and carrying out illegal activities and is in response to the spread of terrorist recordings.

The rule covers both new and second-hand equipment.

Sellers are required to upload buyers' personal details to the public security data system run by the police, regional news portal said yesterday.

Major locations, such as electronics malls, will have to have surveillance cameras working during business hours and video footage must be kept for at least 30 days, the rules say, and no one can prevent official checks.

Owners and operators of electronics stores will have to place warning signs in prominent locations telling people not to spread audio and video content about violence and terrorism.

The selling of "black cards" — unregistered phone cards used in cell phones or to provide Wi-Fi services — is banned.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said black cards could be used to spread pornographic contents, start telecom frauds and organize terror activity. Without registration, users fell safe because they are hard to track down, it added.

On September 1, 2010, the ministry required real-name registration when buying a cellphone number in an attempt to prevent spam and telecom fraud.

Two years later, all sim cards had to be registered with genuine identities, a move to target those who bought numbers before September 2010.

In June last year, the State Internet Information Office released a TV program about online terrorist promotions by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, saying it had produced and spread 109 terror-related recordings in 2013.

Such files have been a feature of almost every terrorist attack, the program said, including attacks in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, on April 30 and May 22 last year that resulted in the deaths of 42 people.

Last July, 32 people were sent to prison for between four years and life for spreading terrorist-related audios and videos and organizing terrorist groups.

They were found guilty of using cellphones and the Internet to store, download and spread terrorist content, and using such materials to lead and organize terrorist activities.

In another effort to curb terrorism, Xinjiang has required real-name registration for people who want to buy fireworks or firecrackers for Chinese New Year, which this year is on February 19.

The move can prevent terrorists obtaining the raw materials needed to make explosive devices, and reduce safety risks caused by poor-quality fireworks as well, said Li Jianghui, an official with the region's work safety department.

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