Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is requiring residents to register with their real name when buying cellphones, computers and related electronic devices, the regional government's latest effort to neutralize extremist and terrorist ideas that are often spread electronically.
A report Thursday on news portal iyaxin.com, a website affiliated with the Xinjiang Economic Daily, said the new regulation applies to all electronic devices that have storage, communication and broadcast functions.
The regulation requires electronics shops to install software that connects them with the police and shop owners to provide updated electronic records on those transactions.
The new regulation also covers shops which sell used electronic gadgets and equipment.
Retailers must check and register all second-hand cellphones and computers with the police database, including previous owners of the device, brand, model, MAC addresses and other information. Records must be updated every time a transaction is made and the information must be kept in the system for at least two years. The new rule also requires all electronics shops to install surveillance cameras. Surveillance footage must be stored at their shops for at least 30 days.
They are likewise required to file a separate registration form with the local police aside from the one with the local business bureau.
Unlicensed second-hand transactions of cellphones and computers are strictly forbidden.
Previous media reports said Xinjiang has frequently been the target of terrorism over the past few years where the suspects confessed that they had used the local used electronics market to obtain and distribute extremist content. Many stored jihadist videos on portable digital memory cards so that they can conveniently preach extremist ideas to other people with cellphones.
"The used electronics business is very under-regulated. Many cellphones sold are stolen or acquired through illegal means. The transactions are often conducted on a cash basis, where no personal information is provided. It could be extremely difficult for police to track down the source [of a phone] under these circumstances," a cellphone dealer surnamed Hu from southern Xinjiang's Aksu told the Global Times.
Shop owners are required to post a notice on the dangers of distributing extremist content along with a police hotline number, the regulation said.