Police in Xinjiang have arrested more than 200 people in the last six weeks for “dissemination of violent or terrorist videos” amid a wave of train station attacks.
Police in the far western region, home to mainly Muslim Uygurs, detained 232 people who “have circulated videos promoting terrorism through the internet and on portable devices”, the state-run Global Times said.
Xinjiang’s regional government announced a ban in late March on downloading, saving or spreading “terror-related” videos online.
The ban includes video and audio materials “advocating violence and terrorism, religious extremism and separation of ethnic groups”, the newspaper said.
News of the arrests follows a series of violent incidents both inside and beyond Xinjiang which Chinese authorities have blamed on separatists from the area.
In April, assailants using knives and explosive devices struck at a rail station in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi, resulting in three deaths, including two attackers, and 79 wounded.
In March, 29 were killed and 143 wounded in a horrific knife assault at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming, which some Chinese media have dubbed the country’s “9/11”.
Beijing says groups including the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) and East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), influenced by al-Qaeda, have inspired and even orchestrated violence from Central Asia, which borders Xinjiang.
Some experts, however, question the influence of the TIP, a shadowy organisation that has released videos praising attacks in China but has yet to explicitly claim responsibility for them.
Last week, a lone knifeman was shot and caught after a slashing attack that injured six people at a train station in the southern city of Guangzhou.