News / Asia

China Censors Web Posts Following Xinjiang Unrest Rumors

Screen grab of freeweibo.com web site, July 29, 2013.Screen grab of freeweibo.com web site, July 29, 2013.
x
Screen grab of freeweibo.com web site, July 29, 2013.
Screen grab of freeweibo.com web site, July 29, 2013.
William Ide

China's Internet minders are scrubbing social networks for references about a heavily populated county in the south of the country's volatile and remote region of Xinjiang, following reports of a major outbreak of unrest.
Some of the scrubbed postings from China's social media that can be seen on the website Freeweibo.com say Shache County in Xinjiang's southern Kashgar Prefecture has been hit by up to at least "four violent terrorist attacks."

While the reports of unrest have yet to be confirmed, sources tell VOA that the county has been locked down and that no one is being allowed to enter.

Some postings say telephone and Internet communications have also been cut, but calls to Shache, or Yarkant as it is also called, did go through.

The BBC quotes a regional official as saying 13 people have been killed, but the official did not give any other details.  The victims, the report said, were all Han Chinese.

VOA was unable to reach officials for comment and one local police station in Shache promptly hung up when told that a reporter was inquiring about the situation there.

A woman at a business in Shache said she had heard about what had happened, but had no way of knowing what was true.  She did not get into specifics, noting that phone lines are tapped in the region and that individuals are quickly detained for spreading rumors.

The woman added the tense climate in the restive region is having a big impact on business during what is a typically brisk season.  Tuesday marks the end of Ramadan, a major holiday in the region where many ethnic Muslim Uighurs live.

State media mum

There has been no mention of what has happened in state media.  But Xinhua posted photos Tuesday of rows of Muslims in prayer outside Id Kah Mosque, China's largest.  The mosque is in Kasghar City, several hundred kilometers from where the unrest was reported to have taken place.

What the photos did not show were the scores of security officers also on hand near the mosque.

Violence linked to Xinjiang has been growing in the restive region and spreading to other parts of the country.  Authorities blame Uighur separatists for the attacks and have warned religious extremists from the region are receiving training from overseas.

Critics say it is the government's heavy-handed control in the region, and religious and cultural restrictions that are fueling discontent among Xinjiang's Uighurs.

Religious Freedom report

In its annual report on religious freedom released Monday, the United States raised its concerns about China's policies in the remote region.
"Broadly targeting an entire religious or ethnic community in response to the actions of a few only increases the potential for violent extremism," said Tom Malinowski, assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Nearly 200 people have been killed in ongoing violence in Xinjiang and other parts of the country during the past year or so.  In response to the problem, the government has launched a year-long security campaign, boosting the presence of troops and police throughout the region.

Earlier this year, the government released a blue paper on terrorismand also published a list of 10 terrorist attacks that occurred in 2013.  Seven of the attacks listed occurred in Xinjiang's southern Kashgar Prefecture, including an attack on a police station in Shache late last December.

Previously, the government has been quick to publicize information about attacks, including one on a market in the capital of Urumqi that killed at least 31 people in May.  Why it is silent now, remains unclear.

In one posting that was taken down, a Weibo user by the name of Glass City asked why the government would be removing posts if such a horrible attack had occurred and individuals could just be trying to tell others what is going on.  "What is the point of such an information blockade?" the user asked.

Chinese authorities could be clamping down to help stem the spread of more unrest.

In 2009, online discussion played a key role in the outbreak of massive riots between Han Chinese and Uighurs that hit the capital of Urumqi. 

Authorities say about 200 people were killed in the violence, many of them Han Chinese.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bhomas Trown from: Zaltimore
July 29, 2014 11:33 AM
Is the world getting tired of muslim violence? Yes.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid