View Full Version : CHINA said on Wednesday it had lifted its ban on international calls in "Xinjiang"

20-01-10, 15:21
Jan 20, 2010
Ban on international calls lifted

BEIJING - CHINA said on Wednesday it had lifted its ban on international phone calls in restive Xinjiang, further easing restrictions on communications triggered by deadly ethnic unrest over six months ago.

'Xinjiang's international long-distance call services were restored at midnight today,' a spokesman for the regional government, who refused to be named, told AFP.

Ending the ban came just days after authorities restored text messaging services in the troubled region. Internet access has also been partly reintroduced.

'Some websites, such as Sina and Sohu (two popular Chinese web portals) have been reopened, other websites should reopen very soon,' the spokesman said. 'At present, it is still not possible to go onto foreign websites.'

Riots erupted in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi on July 5, pitting mainly Muslim Uighurs against China's majority Han. A total of 197 people were killed, according to official data, in the worst ethnic violence in China in decades. Authorities quickly reacted by restricting the flow of information going in and out of the region in China's far west.

The government says terrorists, separatists and religious extremists used the Internet, telephones and mobile text messages to spread rumours and hatred as the July violence erupted. But residents in Xinjiang complained that they remained isolated from the outside world due to the long-lasting Internet and phone cuts, and some businesses were even forced to relocate to other parts of China. -- AFP