China to curb phone, computer purchases in restive Xinjiang

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 29, 2015 9:44 PM

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Anyone buying a mobile phone or a computer in the restive far-western Chinese region of Xinjiang will have to register their personal details with police, state media reported, in the latest sign of tightening government restrictions.

The measures were designed to "prevent people spreading harmful information and carrying out illegal activities", the English-language Shanghai Daily reported, citing government officials.

Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, has struggled with violence in recent years between majority Han Chinese and mostly Muslim Uighurs.

The Shanghai Daily cited the regional news portal www.iyaxin.com, but the article could not be found on its website. The measures were also reported on Tian Shan Net, a government-run Xinjiang news portal, but later a message said the article had been deleted.

The regulations apply to both new and second-hand equipment. Retailers will be required to upload purchasers' details to a public security database administered by police and to install surveillance cameras in their stores.

Owners and operators of electronics stores will also be required to place warning signs in prominent locations telling people not to spread audio and video content about violence and terrorism, the report said.

The selling of unregistered cards for phones or WiFi services was banned, it added.

It did not say when the measures took effect.

Earlier this month, authorities in Xinjiang announced that people buying fireworks for Chinese New Year would have to register using their ID cards, the China Daily newspaper reported.

(Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by John Ruwitch and Nick Macfie)