Jul 21, 2017 Last Updated 10:38 AM EDT

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Alibaba, Baidu, and 23 Other Chinese Tech Companies Pledged to Help Government Fight Online Terrorism

Apr 14, 2016 07:18 AM EDT

Chinese Youngers Play Online Games At An Internet Cafe In Wuhan
(Photo : Cancan Chu/Getty Images) WUHAN, CHINA - JUNE 11: Chinese youngsters play online games overnight at an internet cafe on June 11, 2005 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. There are near 2,000 internet cafes in Wuhan, and the largest one has more than 1,000 computers. Most of the customers are students from middle schools and colleges, and the cost for overnight playing of each person is 6 Yuan (US$0.7). China has strengthened its supervision and management of computer games as more and more youngsters have indulged themselves in Internet, according to the state media.

China's internet regulator revealed that the country's top tech companies have pledged to combat online terror activities. The announcement was made on Tuesday, a few months after China passed a new anti-terrorism law.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said that the pledge involved 25 tech companies in the country. The companies have agreed to counter images, videos, and other information that may promote terrorism activities from being distributed on the internet. Among the 25 tech companies that have signed the pledge are Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings Ltd, JD.com, and others.

So far this year, as much as 25,000 posts, 4,000 videos, and 200 accounts have been removed from the internet due to terror-related content, according to the regulator. Considering the heavy terror-related activities across the internet, China's new anti-terrorism law requires tech companies in the country to cooperate with the government, as reported by Reuters.

Under the new anti-terrorism law passed in December last year, tech companies in China, including companies owned by foreign investors, are required to help decrypt information to the government. The new law stressed a particular emphasize in the internet world so that tech companies are the firms required to closely work with the regulators on the matter.

However, the new anti-terror law is also facing criticism partly because of its emphasis on the internet aspect. According to China Topix, the law might hinder freedom of speech. The U.S. State Department also expressed its concerns, arguing that the new anti-terror law will likely do more harm than good.

Some even connect the new policy with President Xi Jinping's practices of tight internet control and censorship, and that the anti-terror law is just a way to justify the internet control by the government. However, China has rejected such criticism, claiming that it's doing what other Western countries already do, working closely with tech firms to help fight terrorism across the internet.

According to Yibada, China said that the country is indeed faced with threats from terror groups, such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The group is actively operating in the Xinjiang region and is causing violent incidents in recent years.

Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are among 25 major tech companies in China that have signed a pledge to help combat terrorism activities across the internet as a response to the country's new anti-terror law. Critics have accused the government of using the law to justify its own agenda, a claim that is rebuffed by the country's officials.

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