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Information on riots in Urumqi slow to come by

Categories: Advocacy, China

China’s Muslim ethnic minority-the Uighurs are facing Beijing’s wrath after riots broke out in city of Urumqi in province of Xinjiang.

The government has largely censored news, pictures and videos on the riots but the information is trickling in slowly and at least 140 people have been killed.

D'Arcy Doran at AFP [1]says:

“Twitter and YouTube appeared to be blocked in China late on Monday afternoon, while leading Chinese search engines would not give results for “Urumqi”, the city in Xinjiang where the riots occurred.

Urumqi residents also said the Internet had been cut off in the city, while some mobile phone services were curbed, making it difficult for people to relay information on the unrest and crackdown.

Traditional press also carried only the official version of events, which blamed the unrest on ethnic Muslim Uighurs.”

Unlike protestors in Iran who had technology to speared news about their movement and government crackdown, citizens in Urumqi are facing tech black out.

BBC’s [2] Mark Ward says that along with YouTube, Twitter and facebook, China is also clamping down on local alternatives

“The Chinese government also moved to block access to Twitter as well as home-grown alternatives Fanfou and Youku.

The Herdict site brings together reports about inaccessible services around the world and, following the Chinese clampdown, it logged almost 150 reports that Twitter was down in China.”

At YouTube video of riots are being posted, most are from the official Chinese news agency but Youku’s unofficial videos are also there. Here is one such video from Youku Urumqi riots [3]