Online videos help to spur terror attacks

Updated: 2014-07-08 08:09

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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International cooperation needed to combat dangerous material, Cao Yin reports in Beijing.

Online videos help to spur terror attacks
Kunming residents hold a candlelight vigil to mourn victims of the March 1 attack in the city. Liu Jiao / for China Daily

Ekrem Usman recalled in subdued tones how members of his terror cell were whipped into a frenzy to carry out a violent attack last year in Lukqun, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

"Before the attack, we watched some videos that asked us to launch jihad," said the cell's leader, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in September for membership in a terror organization, homicide and arson.

Rubbing his handcuffed hands, he confirmed he watched online videos repeatedly, sometimes with three or four others.

"I was excited after watching the videos. I was thirsty for jihad," he said, adding he even downloaded the video materials onto his mobile phone.

Like Usman, all of the terrorists had watched similar videos and listened to audio materials on the Internet before they committed brutal terror attacks, the State Internet Information Office said in June.

The SIIO aims to root out terror-related video and audio products online within six months with the cooperation of the Ministry of Public Security and Internet or technology giants such as Sina and Tencent.

Meanwhile, in a 24-minute documentary, made by the SIIO and China Central Television, anti-terrorism experts and police also said that online videos about the East Turkistan Islamic Movement had been a catalyst in a series of attacks since last year.

"How to strengthen the anti-terrorism fight via the Internet has become a major topic not only in China, but also across the world," said specialist Li Wei, who is an anti-terrorism researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations and has issued several papers globally on how to tackle the scourge of terror.

International agreements, communication channels, and cooperation are vital in the campaign to tackle terrorism, he said.

Terror groups are no strangers to putting footage of their atrocities on the Internet but it is possible that they could, one day, use the actual web to conduct terror attacks, such as disabling power plants or causing travel mayhem, Li added.

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