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.

    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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora