Beijing: China has banned religious extremism and terror-related content on Internet in its restive Xinjiang region hit by an increased separatist violence, in a move officials say will help prevent radicalisation of local youth.
Authorities in the region issued new regulations that they said will help weed out Islamist content out of the web.
Website operators offering instant communications, online storage or audio visual sharing services in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region must now register their services or set up servers in the region.
The regional government began enforcing the regulations from December 24, state-run Xinjiang Daily reported.
Under the new rules, website operators are also required to follow State rules on approval and registration. Individual users must register with their ID cards before being able to publish information and organisations must provide licenses to site providers.
Website operators must also keep all information secure unless required legally to reveal it. They are forbidden to leak, falsify or damage information or to benefit from user information.
Operators and users must not edit, copy, broadcast or keep information related to violence and terrorism, state-run China Daily reported.
The regulations followed increased violent attacks by the banned East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) whose pronounced aim is to fight for a separate Xinjiang, which has a majority population of 11 million ethnic Uygur Muslims.
The province, bordering the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan, has witnessed riots for several years following Uygur resentment about increasing settlements of Han Chinese from other provinces.
China has launched a massive crackdown on the al-Qaeda backed outfit which reportedly has bases in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Li Yuxia, a specialist on Internet governance and law at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said the new regulations improve Internet security and development in the region.
"It will not hinder local demands on Internet services, but only increase the security standard of operators," Li said. "More operators will start businesses in Xinjiang as long as there is demand."
In May last year, China launched a year-long crackdown on terrorism, a day after a terrorist attack in Urumqi killed 39 people.
The region has dealt with 44 cases involving explosives instruction via the Internet and 294 cases related to the distribution of violent audiovisual material.
More than 18,000 documents, 2,600 discs and 777 other storage devices related to religious extremism were seized.
ETIM promotes itself and spreads extremism via videos, said Yalikun Yakuf, deputy director-general of the Xinjiang public security department.