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Image after the riot  (Source: Xinhua)
The Chinese government is cracking down on the Internet and Twitter

The Chinese government has cut off internet service and blocked access to Twitter in a region of the country, after deadly riots left 140 people dead in a remote northwest region of the country.

Chinese media reports indicate 140 people have been killed in the Xinjiang Urumqi Autonomous region, and a total of around 800 people -- with that number still climbing -- have been injured.  Chinese search engines no longer yield any search results when Chinese internet users search for "Urumqi."

Residents of the city say internet has been completely cut off in Urumqi, and they have not been told when it will be restored.

Now that the protests reportedly have spread outside of Urumqi, it's possible others will face internet crackdowns later this week.  

In addition to internet restrictions and a crackdown on Twitter, YouTube also has been temporarily blocked by the government, which is attempting to create a certain level of damage control.  The internet will reportedly remain off to help stifle the spread of the riots, but official word from the Chinese government isn't expected to discuss the recent internet shutoff.

The Chinese government is well known for cracking down on internet users after similar events, and also closely controls what kind of content can be seen by internet users.  The government has drawn criticism from some PC manufacturers and security experts over its Green Dam filtering software that must be installed on all PCs and laptops sold in the country.

Despite the power of the Great Firewall of China, many internet users are able to find ways around the firewall so they are able to still read any content they like.  These freedoms, including the use of social networking sites and YouTube, is the reason the Chinese government also is cracking down on Twitter and YouTube.

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RE: You guys got the wrong idea and picture.
By Iaiken on 7/6/2009 5:08:50 PM , Rating: 3
The Xinjiang region has been in turmoil off and on for the last 300 years with rebellions, uprisings and civil wars. Most of this is tied to the Muslim population’s desire for freedom of religion in spite of it being contrary to contemporary communist thinking. Like all of their remote and ethnically diverse regions, the Chinese solution to the problem of cultural diversity was to simply drown them under a sea of immigrant Han Chinese. Since the PLA invasion in 1953, the Chinese government engaged in massive settlement efforts that saw the number of Han Chinese rise from less than half a million to over 7.8 million (based on 2007 census data).

Most of these immigrants reside in the metropolitan areas where they make up over 75% of all city inhabitants while rural populations are predominantly Uyghurs and Kazakhs. This, combined with business and government engaging in blatant segregation against non-Hans has sparked violence ever since as indigenous peoples seek equality.

Somehow, I doubt they will ever acquire said equality while the government is content with labeling them "terrorists" and "religious extremists".

The BBC article doesn't mention any of the above regional history and ultimately fails to describe the proper scope in which the events transpired... this is far from over.

By neothe0ne on 7/6/2009 7:06:07 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, the US and UN have also labeled them as terrorists. The ethnic tensions have existed since before the PRC, but I thought that should have been self-explanatory given that ethnic minorities don't randomly sprout from the ground.

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