Chinese authorities have been cracking down on ‘rumor mongering‘ with a special fervor in Xinjiang, where nearly 400 people have been investigated, 164 ‘warned’ and 110 detained. Suspects are accused of disseminating ‘religious extremism and material that threatened [state] stability,’ according to the Party-run Xinjiang Daily.
Police have been making “rumor mongering” arrests throughout China, but such cases have typically targeted individuals like that unlucky Gansu teenagers or the dissenting-turned-repenting Charles Xue. The Xinjiang crackdown stands out for its scale and for the content of its alleged “rumors,” as the BBC reports:
The Xinjiang Daily, regarded as the mouthpiece of the local Communist Party committee, says the rapid rise of internet users in Xinjiang has seen an increase of religious extremism spreading online. […]
It mentioned the cases of some of those arrested. They include a primary school teacher in Kashgar and a farmer in Hotan.
The school teacher created and uploaded four video clips to his personal website in May, it said. They contained materials which promoted religious extremism, local police were quoted as saying, without giving details. He gave out the links to his site on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.
The videos received 1,500 views and were posted 11,000 times on Weibo before they were discovered and removed by police.
The farmer in Hotan uploaded 2GB of e-books containing separatist materials to a site which he created, the paper said. They received more than 30,000 visits and were reposted 600 times and downloaded 14,000 times before being discovered.
He has been charged with instigating separatism, the paper adds. […]
Last month, President Xi Jinping vowed to continue the battle against what he described as separatism, terrorism, and religious extremism.
But human rights groups have accused Beijing of exaggerating the terrorist threat in order to justify its tough security policies.
South China Morning Post described the crackdown as against “people who promote jihad online,” but that language was not used in the BBC report or other coverage of the detentions.
Some 100 people have been killed in clashes with Chinese authorities this year, including 15 in an August shoot-out.
[Image via Wikipedia]