July 7, 2009
More as we have it, but TechCrunch is reporting on an apparent Chinese crackdown on Twitter and Facebook access, plus search censorship, seemingly in response to the riots of ethnic Uighurs over the weekend. That China has no qualms about attempting to limit access and censor the internet is well known; witness the recent uproar over the planned “Green Dam”, currently on hold. Much of that seemed aimed at more generalized state control and was wrapped in the ‘porn prevention/social responsibility’ cloak that so many government censors use. (And many in the West see the targeting of Google and other Western companies in these crackdowns as an underhanded way to promote domestic Chinese companies.
This crackdown, however, seems to be attempting to limit the access of those involved in protests to the tools to spread and organize their message.
Techcrunch quotes Web2Asia:
Web2Asia’s George Godula writes:
“As of today 8pm Chinese time Facebook seems not to be accessible from most parts of China Mainland anymore. On the China Telecom connection of our Shanghai office the service vanished at around 7:45pm. Friends in Hong Kong are reporting that they can still access the website.”
China’s Uighur minority group has been rioting after a peaceful protest clashed with the police. Many have referred to the latest protests as being driven by concerns about ethnic identity and fears that a separatist movements dream of an independent state are fading. (Coverage of the riots.)
Xinjiang, where at least 140 people have died in China’s worst riots since the Tiananmen Square massacre, is a vast area of desert and mountains, as distinct from eastern China in history, atmosphere and geography as Turkey is from Britain.
With the death toll and number of injured mounting, China is trying to both stop the demonstrators and squash their message through control of social media. More as we have it.