|Reporters Without Borders|
Mr. Zhang Chunxian
Paris, 19 May 2010
Subject: Internet situation in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region
Dear Mr. Zhang,
Reporters Without Borders notes the Xinjiang Autonomous Region’s reconnection to the Internet on 14 May, which has allowed a relative reopening to the outside world, and we urge you to pursue this trend by pressing for less online censorship at the central government’s next meeting to examine the situation in Xinjiang.
Cut off from the world for near 10 months following the July 2009 unrest, Xinjiang was the victim of a discriminatory measure as regards Internet access. It was the longest-ever case of government censorship of this kind. The return to “normal” is a positive sign. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the fact that Xinjiang’s Internet users are subject to filtering by the Great Electronic Wall of China, which prevents access to websites and content regarded as subversive by the authorities.
You recently said that you wanted to “maintain stability at all costs” and that you were ready to crack down on “separatist elements.” The solution to your region’s problems does not lie solely in the application of economic remedies. It also requires increased respect for freedom of expression, to which its inhabitants have a right, and a reduction or elimination of censorship about the Uyghur cause, which cannot be branded as just terrorism.