Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Still no Internet in Xinjiang


Having to travel 650km to use the internet sounds pretty intense. Internet and long-distance calls have been cut off in Xinjina Autonomous Region since the riots last July, leaving the 20 million inhabitants cut off from the rest of the modern and connected world.

Highlight – “Xinjiang now has no e-mail. No blogs. No instant messaging. The government this month promised Internet access would resume ‘gradually,’ but it also said the same thing in July and not much has changed. So far, only four restricted websites, half of them state-run media, have returned.”

– – –

Still no Internet in Xinjiang
AP
Source – Straits Times, 20 Jan 2010

LIUYUAN (CHINA) – THEY arrive at this gritty desert crossroads weary from a 13-hour train ride but determined. The promised land lies just across the railway station plaza: a large, white sign that says ‘Easy Connection Internet Cafe’.

The visitors are Internet refugees from China’s western Xinjiang region, whose 20 million people been without links to the outside world since the government blocked virtually online access, text messages and international phone calls after ethnic riots in July. It’s the largest and longest such blackout in the world, observers say.

Every weekend, dozens of people pile off the train in Liuyuan, a sandswept town on the ancient Silk Road that’s the first train stop outside Xinjiang, 650km east of Urumqi, the regional capital.

Authorities unplugged Xinjiang, a sprawling area three times the size of Texas, in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the ethnic rioting between the Han Chinese majority and the mainly Muslim Uighur minority that the government says left almost 200 dead.

China’s government blamed overseas activists for the riots, saying they stirred up resentment in the Uighur community through Web sites and e-mails.

Xinjiang now has no e-mail. No blogs. No instant messaging. The government this month promised Internet access would resume ‘gradually,’ but it also said the same thing in July and not much has changed. So far, only four restricted websites, half of them state-run media, have returned. — AP

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Filed under: Communications, Internet, Straits Times

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