China punishes nearly 400 for jihad-related offences
Beijing: Nearly 400 people in China`s volatile Xinjiang region, home to Uygur Muslims, have been punished for allegedly spreading jihad and rumours online, officials said on Wednesday as the country stepped up efforts to curb militancy.
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has punished 256 people for spreading online rumours that jeopardised social stability, state-run Global Times reported today.
Another 139 people were arrested for "spreading religious extremism, including jihad", China Daily reported.
Several people received admonitions, while 16 were put under criminal custody, Hou Hanmin, deputy director of the publicity department under the region`s Communist Party, said.
Police in Xinjiang have handled an "increasing number of cases in which individuals have posted or searched for religious extremist content on the Internet during the past three years".
Some even plot "terrorist attacks online" and later put their plans into action, the source said, without giving the exact number.
China is battling Islamst militancy in Xinjiang where officials say the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Al Qaeda affiliated group, has become active after riots between Uygurs and Han Chinese settlers in the last few years.
Uygurs protests growing settlements of Hans in the resource rich western province.
As US troops set to leave Afghanistan next year, China is more concerned about its likely fallout as Xinjiang shares borders with Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan.
Officials say most people involved in the acts of extremism are not well educated and some of them are unemployed, and spread extreme religious ideas gaining thousands of followers, Fan Guanghui, an official with the region`s public security department said.
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