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Special unit to help China fight cyber terrorism

2014-06-07 09:21 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

A special unit combating the spread of terrorism online set up by the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will help China, which has experienced a series of terrorist attacks in recent years, to maintain its social stability, director of the structure's executive committee said on Friday.

"Many terrorists who carried out deadly attacks in China have watched or listened to videos or audios with contents of extreme beliefs online, but those materials are produced and uploaded outside China. So RATS has decided to set up a special unit to deal with the threat," Zhang Xinfeng, the current director of SCO's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure's executive committee said at the headquarters of the structure in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.

Zhang said the unit could provide assistance to China, especially Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which is on the frontline of the country's war on terrorism, to eliminate the online sources of terrorist and extreme information. He added that China's recent national campaign of striking hard on terrorism is necessary and will be effective.

The member states of the SCO, which includes Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, have constantly made arrests of terrorists, separatists and extremists as well as tracked down terrorists wanted internationally. The structure has also always been assisted by China in fighting terrorism since it was founded on June 17, 2004, with the aim to enhance cooperation in the region's security, he added.

"The terrorist attacks in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are closely related to the activities of terrorists, separatists and extremists forces in Central Asia so the joint anti-terrorist efforts from the member countries are crucial to China's stability, and it is a long-term mission," Zhang said.

The member countries have adopted an anti-terrorism mechanism in intelligence and information sharing. Also, they have strengthened he cooperation of border controls since 2013 to solve the issues of terrorists crossing the borders illegally, he added.

RATS has two bodies: the Council and the executive committee. According to the agreement of the member countries, regular meetings of the Council have to be held at least once every six months.

So far 24 meetings have been held since the organization was established 10 years ago and 356 documents regulating the cooperation of the member states in the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism have been reviewed.

Besides the member countries, the structure has further enhanced the anti-terrorism cooperation with SCO's five observer countries: Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan.

"Although countries may have some conflicts with each other, but they must realize that terrorism is their common enemy and they must fight it together," Zhang said.

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