July 10, 2009 - Updated on January 20, 2016

All communications with Xinjiang cut for past six days

Several Uyghur students currently in Paris told Reporters Without Borders today they have been unable to contact their relatives in Xinjiang since 5 July, either through the Internet or by telephone. At the same time, the China Digital Times website had published a list of 118 keyword combinations such as “Xinjiang blood”, “Han and Uyghur cannot live under the same sky”, “Uyghur and Han, demonstration” and “conflict, Han and Uyghur” that produce no result in search engines because they have been blocked by the Chinese authorities. See For more information on the censorship of independent news and information about Xinjiang, see the Reporters Without Borders press release of 7 July. ----------------------- 07.07 - Independent reports about Xinjiang rioting censored in China Reporters Without Borders condemns the Chinese government’s filtering of online information about the rioting in the Urumqi, the capital of the western province of Xinjiang, in which hundreds of people have been killed or injured. More than 50 Uyghur-language Internet forums were closed yesterday and communications were cut in the city. “Urumqi is currently cut off from the rest of the world,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Once again, the Chinese government has chosen to cut communications in order to prevent the free flow of information. We firmly condemn this behaviour, which is serious violation of Uyghur freedom of expression and an unacceptable act of discrimination.” The microblogging website Twitter has been inaccessible since yesterday afternoon. Uyghur PEN Centre general secretary Kasser said: “All the leading media are controlled by the state but only independent and privately-owned news sources are inaccessible. We have not been able to access any forum since this morning. It has so far been very difficult to confirm the reports we have been getting.” Sites that are inaccessible because of the rioting: Freedom of expression is strictly controlled in Xinjiang. At least three journalists are in prison there, one of them for writing a poem in favour of Uyghur culture. Under regulations that have been in force since January 2007, foreign journalists are free to visit the province but, once there, are closely monitored by the authorities. Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur-language services are jammed in China. The authorities have cracked down hard on Uyghur culture activists since September 2001, creating a great deal of frustration in the province, which has an ethnic Uyghur majority. The official Chinese press has covered the rioting but continues to be very evasive about its motives.