Beijing to crack down on terrorist online recordings

Beijing, December 17

China’s minister of public security called today for a crackdown on online audio and video recordings used by “terrorists”, a week after Islamic State purportedly released a Chinese-language song to recruit militants.

The minister, Guo Shengkun, told all of his departments to “fully understand and accurately grasp” the trend facing the international and domestic community in the fight against terrorism, his ministry said in a statement on its website. “Further deepen the crackdown against violent, terrorist activities; carry out a crackdown and punish the dissemination of audio and video containing terrorism online, and people who illegally enter the country to conduct terrorism,” Guo said. “Resolutely destroy the threatening manner of these terrorists.” This month, Islamic State’s propaganda arm, Al Hayat media centre, appeared to have put online a recording in Mandarin that exhorted its “Muslim brothers” to awaken. In the four-minute song titled “I am Mujahid”, a man chants: “To die fighting on the battlefield is my dream”, and “No force can stop our advance”.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she could not comment on whether the recording was issued by Islamic State, but said it showed that “terrorism is the common enemy of mankind”, and the need to stop extremists using the Internet.

As China’s economic and business interests abroad grow, it has increasingly been affected by the activities of militants. Chinese officials warn that some members of the Muslim Uighur ethnic group, from the western region of Xinjiang, have travelled to battlegrounds in Syria and Iraq. The government says it faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists in energy-rich Xinjiang, where hundreds of people have been killed in violence in recent years.

Rights groups, however, doubt that a cohesive militant Islamist group exists there, saying the violence stems from popular anger at Chinese controls on religion and culture.