Police in China’s restive northwest have arrested more than 200 people for “dissemination of violent or terrorist videos,” state media said Monday.
The six-week security operation in Xinjiang, home to the mainly Muslim Uighur minority group, comes after a spate of bombings and knife attacks at train stations across the country.
A total of 232 people who “circulated videos promoting terrorism through the Internet and on portable devices” have been detained, the state-run Global Times newspaper said, citing a Legal Daily report.
In late March, Xinjiang’s regional government announced a ban on possessing “terror-related” videos or spreading them via the Internet.
The crackdown was introduced after the March 1 slaughter of 29 people at a railway station in the southwestern city of Kunming by at least 10 knife-wielding attackers. Some 143 others were wounded in the incident, which was blamed on Uighur separatists.
On April 30, a knife-and-bomb attack struck a rail station in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi just as Chinese President Xi Jinping was wrapping up a tour of the northwestern region. The raid left 79 wounded and three dead, including two attackers.
Then on May 6, six people were injured by at least one knife-wielding assailant at a train station in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. One suspect was shot and detained by security officials.
Relations between China’s majority Han population and the Uighur minority are tense, especially in Xinjiang, where many Uighurs demand greater autonomy and say they are being overwhelmed by a flood of Han migrants. Beijing counters that its policies have brought higher living standards and prosperity to the resource-rich region.