China Recruits Tech Companies to Battle Online Terrorism

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China’s twenty-five technology companies have pledged to counter online terror activities.

Chinese search engine Baidu, Tencent investment holding company, Alibaba and – e-commerce companies, and Sina – an online media company are among the companies that have signed up for cleaning up of internet space, reports Defense World.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said the companies had promised to “handle in a timely way with terror-related harmful, illegal information, create a clear internet space and maintain social stability”.

The Chinese internet regulator has removed over 25,000 posts, 4,000 videos and 200 accounts from the internet so far this year.

China passed a new anti-terrorism law in December last year. Among other things, it requires technology firms to help decrypt information and cooperate with the government in fighting terrorism.

Critics say China uses its counter-terror and national security regulations to quell free speech. China has rebuffed the criticism of the law, saying it is simply doing what other Western nations already do in asking technology firms to help fight terror.

The law has caused particular unease in Western capitals as it codifies sweeping powers for the government to combat perceived threats.

China says it faces a serious threat from groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which operates in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, where hundreds have died in violence in recent years.

Rights groups and many foreign experts though say China has never presented any convincing evidence to prove ETIM exists as a cohesive, well-organized group capable of the kinds of attacks China blames it for.