Car owners in China’s western Xinjiang region will be required to install GPS trackers on their vehicles as part of new government measures designed to combat violence and terrorism.
The surveillance initiative will also see cars tracked using RFID tags attached to license plates, the Associated Press reports.
“In recent years, the terrorist situation around the world has become severe, and cars are the main means of transport for terrorists, as well as constantly serving as weapons,” prefectural authorities said in an online statement.
Aerial view of thousands of new cars lining up at a parking lot in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, January 16. Car owners in China’s western Xinjiang region will now have to install GPS trackers as part of new government measures. VCG/VCG via Getty Images
Xinjiang, which shares a border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, has seen increased street searches and police patrols, the report claims, following bombings and vehicle attacks blamed on separatist militants from the native ethnic Uighur minority.
The Turkish Islamic Party (TIP), a radical Islamist group from the region, claimed responsibility for an attack in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 2013 that saw a group of pedestrians run over by a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Radicals from Xinjiang also claimed responsibility for a car and bomb attack in 2014 that killed 31 people in the city of Urumqi.
Authorities stated that around 20,000 government and private vehicles would be tracked using China’s Beidou satellite system. Vehicle owners will have until June 30 to equip their cars with the technology.
The surveillance measures are designed to “ensure social security and safety and promote social stability and harmony,” according to government News outlet Loulan News.
Any vehicles that fail to meet the new standards will be refused from gas stations, according to the report.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers