Chinese Police Detain Man for Videos of Islamic State Beheadings

Chinese Police Detain Man for Videos of Islamic State Beheadings
伊斯蘭國發言人阿德納尼。|Photo 翻攝

What you need to know

The case comes almost a year after China’s anti-terrorism law was put into effect.

Police in northern China have detained a man for downloading and storing two video clips of beheadings carried out by the Islamic State.

On Thursday, the Internet Security Squad of the Public Security Bureau of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, said in a statement that a man identified only by his surname, Kang, had been detained for 10 days under China’s anti-terrorism law.

According to police, Kang admitted his wrongdoing, saying he had downloaded the videos on his phone out of curiosity and had not sent or shown the clips to anyone else. The files showed scenes of Islamic State terrorists beheading prisoners, said the statement.

On Dec. 28, Kang was given 10 days in administrative detention, an extralegal penalty the police can issue for offenses not considered crimes.

Liu Binghai, who works in the publicity department of the Shijiazhuang police department, told Sixth Tone that law enforcement officials had declined to comment on the case because it involves counterterrorism.

Article 80 of the anti-terrorism law stipulates that people who “produce, disseminate, or illegally possess items propagating terrorism and extremism” should be put in administrative detention for 10 to 15 days and optionally fined up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,450).

The law came into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, and Kang’s detention mirrors similar cases made public by law enforcement departments throughout China since then. In July 2016, a man surnamed Wang was detained for 15 days by Shijiazhuang authorities after being found to have downloaded and stored a total of six terrorist-violence-related video clips on his computer’s hard disk, according to local police.

In the same month, a man surnamed Tan in Weihai, a city in eastern China’s Shandong province, was detained for 15 days and fined 10,000 yuan for downloading and storing four video clips authorities said propagated terrorism.

In fear of proliferation of international terrorism into China, the government approved the anti-terrorism law in late 2015 to stem the spread of terrorist propaganda in the country. According to Islamic State documents made public in July 2016, more than 100 Chinese nationals had joined the group in Syria.

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published on Sixth Tone here. Sixth Tone covers trending topics, in-depth features, and illuminating commentary from the perspectives of those most intimately involved in the issues affecting China today. It belongs to the state-funded Shanghai United Media Group.

Editor: Olivia Yang