The legislature in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has passed a regulation prohibiting the instigation of ethnic separatist activities via the Internet, China News Service reported Sunday.
Online activities compromising national security, damaging national and social interests, undermining ethnic unity, instigating ethnic secession and harming social stability will be severely punished, according to the regulation.
The rule follows in the wake of the July 5 riots in Urumqi, in which 197 people were killed and more than 1,700 injured.
Rebiya Kadeer, head of the World Uygur Congress, has been blamed for sparking the riots, and according to the local government the Internet was an important tool for her to communicate with secessionists in Xinjiang.
Internet connections in Urumqi have been suspended since the riots.