Jan 20, 2010

East Turkestan:Messaging Service Restored In The Uyghur Region

Sample ImageAfter more than six months of unrest in East Turkestan, China has decided to restore text messaging service in the region

Below is an article published by the World Bulletin:

 The Chinese government in Uighur region has restored text messaging services, more than six months after violent unrest in Urumqi.

Text messages, as well as Internet access and international phone calls, were cut after 197 people died in protests between Uighurs and Han Chinese on July 5. However, Uighur exile groups said up to 800 people died, many of them Uighurs shot or beaten to death by police.

 Messaging services were restored in the early hours of Sunday morning, residents said.

 "Hello, uncle. In Xinjiang we can send text messages now. I hope you are well," read a message sent by one Urumqi resident, Sun Yu, to his relative in Beijing.

 China named what Uighurs call East Turkestan "Xinjiang" after imposing its control.

 Internet access to a limited number of government-run websites was restored a few weeks ago.

The cut in communications has frustrated residents who were unable to get news, shop, send emails or apply for jobs online.

 Meanwhile, the government plans to spend nearly 2.89 billion yuan ($424.8 million) this year, up 88 percent from last year's budgeted 1.54 billion yuan, the China Daily said, citing a report from the annual legislative meeting.

 The exile group Uyghur American Association said it fears the near doubling of the security budget "will broaden the scope of the ongoing official repression of Uyghurs and exacerbate ethnic tensions in the region".

 "In the complete absence of any government acknowledgment of the deep social and developmental inequalities that contributed to the unrest... UAA is pessimistic about the possibility of any improvement in stability or social progress in the coming months," it said.

 Many rights groups and exiles say Chinese bans on the Uighurs' religious and cultural rights is one of the cause of discontent.