Shutting Down Communications to Prevent More Protest

The ongoing riots and protests in western China’s Xinjiang region have led to some extraordinary restrictions on communications in China: Internet service and mobile phone access around Urumqi have been curtailed, while social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Fanfou (a homegrown version of Twitter) are suddenly inaccessible to users around the country. More familiar tactics, such as the removal of online discussions, photos and videos of the violence, are also being employed.

In an unusually candid statement, the Communist Party chief of Xinjiang acknowledged the intentional disruption of Internet service in Urumqi, saying that it was done to prevent the spread of further protests, according to China Daily. Despite the restrictions on communications, thousands of Han Chinese protested in Urumqi on Tuesday, and smaller groups of Uighurs continued to gather to air their grievances.

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