China says Internet fully restored in Xinjiang

May 14, 2010 By SCOTT McDONALD , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- China's riot-torn western region of Xinjiang said it fully restored the Internet on Friday, 10 months after shutting down access over allegations that agitators used the Web to stir up ethnic violence that killed nearly 200 people.

Internet access and text messaging services were cut in the wake of the July riots in Xinjiang that wounded an additional 1,600 people and sparked a massive security crackdown still in place. Almost 200 accused rioters have been tried and several dozen death sentences handed down.

China blamed the rioting on overseas-based groups agitating for broader rights for Xinjiang's traditional majority Uighur ethnic group and cut Internet service in the region, saying the Web had been used to foment unrest.

Internet services were partially restored at the end of last year, while limited phone texting services began last month.

"For the stability, economic development and the needs of people from all of the autonomous region, the Communist Party and the government of Xinjiang decided to fully resume Internet services beginning May 14," the news office of the Xinjiang government said in a statement posted on a government website.

The severing of Internet connections in Xinjiang was more than just an inconvenience. Businesses who trade throughout Central Asia were forced to use faxes or send staff into neighboring provinces to access e-mail, while scientists found themselves shut off from research partners elsewhere. Many ordinary people relied on friends and family elsewhere in China to download their e-mails and pass the information on to them.

Even with services restored, China's countrywide blocks on websites it considers politically sensitive continue to restrict access to news and other information.

At the China International Electronic Commerce Center in the regional capital Urumqi, a woman who refused to give her name, confirmed Friday that and were blocked in Xinjiang.

Beijing encourages Internet use for education and business but tries to thwart access to material deemed subversive or pornographic, including websites abroad run by human rights and pro-democracy activists. The actions to keep China's citizens from finding politically sensitive information and images online have been dubbed the "Great Firewall."

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters that Internet freedom would be part of the discussion in human rights talks Thursday and Friday with in Washington.

Chinese authorities have been accused of alienating the Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs), who are ethnically and linguistically distinct from China's majority Han, with tight restrictions on cultural and religious expression and nonviolent dissent. Many Uighurs also resent the presence and relative prosperity of Han who have flooded into Xinjiang since the communist revolution in 1949.

Explore further: Text service resumes 6 months after Xinjiang riots


Related Stories

Text service resumes 6 months after Xinjiang riots

January 17, 2010

(AP) -- Text messaging services restarted with some restrictions Sunday for cell phone users in far western China, more than six months after deadly ethnic rioting prompted the government to shut them down.

China targets 'foreign forces' in Web crackdown

May 3, 2010

(AP) -- China will target online information from "overseas hostile forces" in its next crackdown to tighten Internet controls, a government spokesman said in comments reported Monday.

Chinese Web sites close amid tightening controls

July 21, 2009

(AP) -- Two more Web sites dedicated to social networking went offline in China on Tuesday amid tightening controls that have blocked Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites that offered many Chinese a rare taste of free ...

China to stick to controversial software rule

June 23, 2009

China will not back away from a new rule requiring that Internet filtering software be shipped with all computers sold in the country despite heavy criticism of the plan, state media has said.

Amnesty: Web Companies Violating Rights

July 20, 2006

(AP) -- Amnesty International accused Yahoo, Microsoft and Google on Thursday of violating human rights principles by cooperating with China's efforts to censor the Web and called on them to lobby for the release of jailed ...

China web users 'outnumber US population'

July 26, 2009

The number of Internet users in China is now greater than the entire population of the United States, after rising to 338 million by the end of June, state media reported Sunday.

Recommended for you

Volvo to supply Uber with self-driving cars (Update)

November 20, 2017

Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars said Monday it has signed an agreement to supply "tens of thousands" of self-driving cars to Uber, as the ride-sharing company battles a number of different controversies.

New method analyzes corn kernel characteristics

November 17, 2017

An ear of corn averages about 800 kernels. A traditional field method to estimate the number of kernels on the ear is to manually count the number of rows and multiply by the number of kernels in one length of the ear. With ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet May 15, 2010
I hope i can finally get Youtube and Facebook back. My life has been empty all these long months...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.