China: When the network was cut in Xinjiang…

After the riot in Urumqi in July 5 2009, the Internet and communication network in Xinjiang had been cut off for several months. So far, not much have been reported on the situation back then. Recently a netizen has written in detail what had happened between July 6 to December 25, 2009 in Xinjiang at daynew.net. Below is a brief summary of the report.

1. Three kind of communications had been cut: the Internet, mobile SMS and overseas phone call. For ordinary Internet user, you could hardly access any IP and port for going online. You could only access websites which were hosted in Xingjiang and a number of government websites outside the region.

Beginning from July 6 midnight, Internet service providers stopped functioning. Chinanet was blocked, followed by China mobile, China Unicom and CERNET. CSTNET was blocked on July 9. Mobile online access was blocked around the same time but WAP access lasted until mid August. The only way you could get around the blocking is to use 56K dial up for accessing the Internet.

During the period, no mobile text message could be sent out. Even if you were using a non-Xinjiang mobile card.

Since July 7, it had been very difficult to make international call and in beginning from August, the international connection was cut. If you had to make international call, you had to line up outside the tele company building and made the call inside their booths. The situation was like in the early 80s.

So how could one connect with the outside world? All circumvention tools had no use as the Internet network had been cut off from Xinjiang. What we could do is:

1. Use a 56K dial up modem to connect with a dial up service provider outside Xinjiang. Between Aug and Oct, netizens used 022-16300, 089-16300 to get access. Between Oct to Dec we used 010-95700 to get access. Then shifted to 0756-96169. Soon after the authority found out the dial up access number, they were blocked.

2. Business internal network: For business like finance, transportation, their network had to stay connected. However, one need to have connection with business for getting access to the network.

3. Expensive satellite connection.

4. Government officials’ privileges — government institutes, such as the police and communication departments stay connected to the internet.

5. Leave Xinjiang or use the network of the neighbor provinces.

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