China / Cover Story

Online videos help to spur terror attacks

By Cao Yin (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-08 08:09

Online videos help to spur terror attacks
Kunming residents pay their respects to victims of the March 1 attack in the city. Hao Yaxin / for China Daily

Malice and danger

Yusanjan Wuxuer was sentenced to death for organizing terror attacks and endangering public security on June 16 in

Anti-terrorism law urged

While tackling the scourge of online terror-related videos and files, China should still further develop the Internet and provide a space for the public to speak, a senior anti-terror expert said.

"It is essential that we tackle online products that instigate religious extremism and breed mistrust, but that doesn't mean information relating to ethnicity and religions should be shielded," said Li Wei, a leading anti-terror specialist in China.

The development of the Internet is important, "and it is not in conflict with our anti-terrorism work," he said.

Terrorists are making use of the Internet to spread their "ideology", he said, adding that what he was most worried about was the threat of terror attacks carried out online.

He strongly called for a specific anti-terror law, common in Western countries, to be issued as soon as possible in China.

"All specific requirements, such as how to improve methods to defeat terrorism and what information should be deleted, should also be written into the law," he said. "At the same time, the law must cover how to operate and supervise the Internet."

Only when the detailed specifics of this law come into effect will the nation's online space be clean and the terror crimes eradicated, according to Li.

"In addition, it is also urgent to reach an agreement on Internet supervision with other countries. If they know that those who put out terrorism-related video products can be punished and targeted in accordance with Chinese law, then that will help," he added.

- Cao Yin

Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi.

Along with another four convicted terrorists, he was involved in the planning of driving a car bomb into a crowd at Tian'anmen Square on Oct 28. Three people in the vehicle were killed, as were two others, and 40 people suffered injuries.

"I knew about Usman Asan (a terrorist who killed himself in the attack) by reading books, watching videos and looking for other materials. No one spread the 'idea' (extremist and terrorist ideology) to me," he said.

The five terrorists who were involved in the planning made a video before the attack, screaming that a "holy war" would start and burning flags of various countries, according to the documentary provided by the SIIO.

The attackers' behavior in the video was similar to that in the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, the SIIO said, adding that the number of terrorism-related videos has been increasing in recent years, especially last year.

In 2010 there were eight and in 2011 there were 13 but it rose to 32 in 2012 and soared to 109 in 2013, the SIIO said.

The terror group released 36 such files in the first six months of this year, it said, adding that most of the terror videos were made overseas and uploaded to the Internet from Turkey.

"About 700 versions of the videos were found online, and they have appeared not only on websites but also on mobile phones and memory sticks," a SIIO spokesman said.

The videos advocate terrorism and religious extremism and threaten people if they do not participate in "holy war", the spokesman said, adding that these videos may also intensify ethnic mistrust.

The videos instruct people how to plan and carry out attacks, including how to make explosives and use weapons, and even show successful terror attacks overseas, he said.

"The video makers even praised terrorists after they carried out an attack," he added.

Yalikun Yakuf, deputy director of Xinjiang public security department, echoed this, saying that the methods of terror attacks in China, such as car bombs, mirror those used overseas.

The terrorist videos can poison an impressionable mind and make the viewers lose their humanity, the police said.

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