What Internet? In western China, email, international calls cut off for 6 months

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by atleast_a_bronze, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. atleast_a_bronze

    atleast_a_bronze Regular Member

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    What Internet? In western China, email, international calls cut off for 6 months and counting

    By Cara Anna (CP)

    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, 400 miles (650 kilometres) east of Urumqi, the regional capital.

    "We must get online! We must!" said Zhao Yan, a petite, ponytailed businesswoman from Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi. She has rented the same private booth in the Internet cafe every weekend since August in an uphill battle to keep her small trading business going.

    "If this goes on another couple of months, I'll have to give up," Zhao said. "I can't keep up with the outside world, and I'm losing money."

    Xinjiang residents are without Internet links unless they flee to farflung places like Liuyuan. One customer had travelled 750 miles (1,200 kilometres) just to get online.

    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 emails.

    For many, it feels like being thrown back in time 30 years.


    Xinjiang now has no email. 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 Web sites, half of them state-run media, have returned.

    No country has shut down an information infrastructure so widely for so long, said the Open Net Initiative, a Harvard-linked partnership that monitors Internet restrictions around the world. Some former Soviet Union countries have done it during sensitive elections, but "the blackout only lasted for hours or days at most," said Rafal Rohozinski, the group's principal investigator.

    The normal Internet in China is already among the world's most restricted.

    "The fact that the Chinese authorities had to resort to shutting down and cutting off the entire infrastructure ... is indicative of the difficulty they are having in controlling cyberspace," Rohozinski said.

    "You can look at news or movies. That's it. It's all one-way," said a 23-year-old from Urumqi, who sat a few screens away from Zhao and was clicking between an email account and a Russian-language Web site. He'd been online for 11 hours. He didn't give his name because he's half Uighur and was worried about retribution from authorities.

    Liuyuan has little more to offer the Xinjiang refugees besides its Internet connection and its steady supply of cross-country trains. "You don't want to stay here," said the desk clerk at the Liutie Hotel, the only guesthouse in town. Most people who get off the train are headed for the famous oasis of Dunhuang, two hours to the south.

    On Sunday, most of the Xinjiang customers bolted back home after hearing word that mobile phone text-messaging services had finally resumed. The region's mobile phone users sent 42.84 million text messages the first day of service alone, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

    Users are still limited to no more than 20 texts per day, with no international service. International calls from Xinjiang remain also blocked. Residents can call overseas only from a China Telecom office, where they first have to show their ID. In some places, people wait in line for more than an hour.

    "It's like it's back to the '70s, when we just had radios and a loudspeaker. We just heard whatever (the government) said and we had no choice," said Liu Jun, a Hong Kong resident who grew up in Xinjiang. Since her hometown can't receive overseas calls, she now must cross the border to the mainland just to telephone her parents.

    One Xinjiang woman who wanted to chat with her American husband finally took an overnight bus to neighbouring Kazakhstan to get online.


    "It's like a social experiment - what would happen if we take away the Internet?" said the husband, Kevin Komoroka, who lives in Missouri. He said their work on her U.S. visa application has slowed to a crawl and now relies on air mail. "No one at any sort of level knows when it will end."

    An international scientific conference was relocated outside the region. A board member of an international academic association travels regularly to Beijing, 1,800 miles from Urumqi, to check her email. The Federal Express office in Urumqi tells customers to check orders by phone instead.

    The Xinjiang government has said foreign investment and tourism were "seriously" affected last year, though it points to the July violence alone. Import-export business fell 38.8 per cent in the first nine months of last year, dropping almost 18 percentage points more than the rest of China, it said in a report this month.

    "We're like deaf people now," said Wei Chengzhi, who works in the online service office of Xinjiang Wind Energy Co. Ltd. "We're working on a joint project with a partner company in Shanghai. We can't communicate with them. Nor can we do any online research."

    Xinjiang's commerce department says it now offers Internet access to companies that can get approval from the local foreign trade or foreign investment office, but only on weekdays.

    One business owner couldn't wait. Just after the riots, Ma Hui and her husband took off on a three-day road trip east to Beijing to keep their dried fruit company going. Since then, her husband has lived in the capital to deal with online orders, while Ma lives in Urumqi and handles the product.

    "We've been married three years and we've never lived apart before," she said. "We don't know when to expect the Internet to come back to normal."

    One person who doesn't mind the blackout is the owner of Liuyuan's Easy Connection Internet Cafe, who wouldn't give his name but said he was quite happy with the increased business.

    As night fell in Liuyuan, Zhao sighed and returned to her work online. She had three more hours before taking the overnight train home to Urumqi, but she expected to be back and online Saturday morning.

    It's easy to recognize her fellow refugees by their computer bags, Zhao said.

    "You should go to Jiuquan," the next major stop east along the railway, she said. "It's a bigger city, and even more people go there. They check into the hotels and use the broadband."

    A faster connection - another 200 miles (320 kilometres) away.


    This is what some people call as "discipline" which had enabled a faster growth in China
    :stinker:
     
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  3. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    Xinjiang - No email, Texting, Internet for 6 months

    Chinese guys on this forum can never stop telling us what a great superpower China is going to be.

    So all you Chinaman - why is this Superpower so scared of its own people until they shut down Internet, Email and even Text messages for 6 months now.

    Even the biggest banana republics in the world have more freedom to reach the outside world than some parts of China.

    You guys want to be a freaking Superpower - but wait a minute......someone forgot to tell you that you are still afraid of your own shadow !!!

    What a F*cking Joke !!!

    What Internet? China region cut off 6 months now - Yahoo! News
     
  4. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    6 months without internet?? I'd be dead by that time :p racial riots were held there recently; not very surprising.
     
  5. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    The thing that makes this shocking to me is that we are not talking about one small town. This is a huge region with millions and millions of people with absolutely no contact with the outside world, unless they drive 750 miles to the nearest town outside the region.

    Where in the modern world today do you see something like this done today.
     
  6. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is what happens in communism. It is unfortunate to the free world that a communist state is a superpower. they taken The great leap forward to see a day when a common chinese man gets the great kick in the a** .
     
  7. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Me thinks, this 6 months will be used to perpetrate systematic genocide and blocking internet is one way of blocking news on such inhumane killings.
     
  8. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    After the news of banning Avtar movie in China and now this, there is a chill in the presence of our chinese members. I wonder why. :wink:
     
  9. redragon

    redragon Regular Member

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    I don't know others, for me, I just feel the discussion here is out of touch with the real world, so I don't bother to comments as many as I did before.

    AVATAR is not banned, get your facts straight. It has been on show for a long time and will continue to be on.
    And you thought Chinese don't know there is no internet access in Xinjing till now? you are funny. Majority of Chinese agree with GOV to do this for the stable of Xinjing, hard to believe?
     
  10. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    6 months of no contact with the outside world for the sake of stability !!!

    Whoaaaa.....Its amazing how paranoid your pathetic CCP government is.
    I guarantee you that the only reason they did that was because it was a mainly Muslim area and the Han Chinese dont give a f*ck about Chinese Muslims.

    Redragon.....do you think if a major riot were to happen in Beijing or Shanghai or any major Han area, the CCP would shut down email, texting and internet for 6 months.
     
  11. atleast_a_bronze

    atleast_a_bronze Regular Member

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    How do you know majority of Chinese agreed with this decision? And you can go on to say rest of Chinese agreed that Xinjiang should have no power supply for 6 months for it's "stability". It is the people there who should decide. But alas, thats never gonna happen in a authoritarian country.
     
  12. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    Maybe the reason you all agree with the decision, is because you have all been so well indoctrinated like a bunch of zombies.
     
  13. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    US bent on 'information imperialism': Chinese state media

    AFP, 22 January 2010, 10:14am IST

    BEIJING: US calls for an open Internet in China are a form of Western "information imperialism", a state media commentary alleged Friday after


    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticised Chinese censorship.

    "The US campaign for an uncensored and free flow of information on an unrestricted Internet is a disguised attempt to impose its values on other cultures in the name of democracy," the Global Times said in an editorial.

    China refuses "to be victimised by information imperialism," added the English-language paper, which is run by the People's Daily, the main mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.

    The commentary appeared after Clinton delivered an Internet policy speech in Washington during which she said China was stepping up web censorship and was among countries using the Internet "to target and silence people of faith."

    The speech came amid a burgeoning row over Internet giant Google's threat to leave China over censorship and recent cyberattacks.

    Clinton also called for Beijing to "conduct a thorough review" of the attacks, which Google said appeared aimed at cracking the email accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

    The Global Times said an unfettered web would leave China vulnerable as "the bulk of the information flowing from the US and other Western countries is loaded with aggressive rhetoric against those countries that do not follow their lead."

    "Countries disadvantaged by the unequal and undemocratic information flow have to protect their national interest and take steps toward this," it said, adding this was "essential for their political stability."

    The Global Times is an English-language daily targeted at a foreign audience and viewed as a barometer of the official line.

    No reaction to Clinton's speech was seen Friday in the Chinese-language press, which has been muted on the row and the controversial censorship issues involved.

    The Global Times has lashed out over the issue this week. On Wednesday it criticised the "'revolving door' between big corporations and Washington" -- suggesting Google had bought influence with the Obama administration.

    Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei was however quoted by state media Thursday saying the Google case should not be linked with Sino-US relations.

    China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment on Clinton's speech.

    US bent on 'information imperialism': Chinese state media - China - World - The Times of India
     
  14. neo29

    neo29 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Seems china needs another revolution by the people. In the 21st century "freedom" is probably most loved word. some fighting for it and others want to curb it.

    It seems the PLA is worried about chinese people looking at other countries and their freedom. chinese people are probably wondering why arent we entitled to get the same when we are a superpower. such free thoughts are refrained from thinking and talking about in a communist regime who considers democracy as its worst enemy.

    These 6 months are nothing but quarantine of free thoughts.
     
  15. dragon

    dragon New Member

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    redragon ,pls don't be so bullshitting.

    Some points listed below are the real truth :

    1. Most people in Xinjiang complain about GOV's banning on Internet access , overseas call,short message ,etc.
    And at that time ,each phone call has been monitored.It's my own experience .
    These meaures (cutting off internet access ,overseas call ,short messages,etc.) result in bad effects on Xinjiang's economic growth,culture ,education ,etc.

    As for my own point ,the GOV is afraid of that Han Chinese will take revenge on the Uighur mob,as for Han Chinese in Xinjiang ,for a long time ,they won't forget the 7.5 riot.
    People outside Xinjiang can't understand such feeling .

    2. Not so many chinese outside Xinjiang know that there's no internet access,etc. in Xinjiang si
     
  16. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Xinjiang internet access
    -------------------------------------
    Straightforward as it is - If anyone promotes ethnical hatred, BAN it; If anyone advocates Taliban-alike Jihad or extremism like an Islamic state that expels non-Muslims, BAN it.

    Xinjiang belongs to ALL groups of diverse religious and ethnical backgrounds!!

    I have no objection to this in an emergency against terrorism -->> 'Laden had links with Xinjiang terrorist groups' - World - The Times of India
     
  17. aelite

    aelite New Member

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    I just want to say every gov cannot put up with riot and rape in anythere. Freedom is not doing anything. I hate the corruption aslo. I don't care about which party in the top.I just care which one should be better now.
    I'm not radical in china. Aslo everyone in china has consensus.We fight against any secession. We need protect the stable condition adn protect the achievement of reform and opening-up. China wakes up just now. No one can make it sleep down again.
     
  18. aelite

    aelite New Member

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    No one want to be the criminals in china history. Who can assume this accusation!! Renting China is not only a sentance.
    Maybe you don't know that means. But every chinese whatever he is han race or others knows this is a serious problem.
     
  19. aelite

    aelite New Member

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    I believe Abraham Lincoln's " For People ; By People ; Of People " . And I think china must be realize that. We can make that true.
     

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