‘You should die willingly’; Xinjiang bans ethnic minorities from social media

A police officer in
Xinjiang who is part of the
internet crackdown.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

ChinaAid

(Urumqi, Xinjiang—March 13, 2018) As Xinjiang launched an operation to restrict internet freedom, the Urumqi Municipal Public Security Bureau ordered the disbandment of all groups containing ethnic minorities on the social media platform WeChat.

Internet police in Xinjiang instituted a new set of stipulations for internet users on March 1, saying that officials would monitor all social media chat groups with more than 10 members and urged them to avoid the “9 Don’ts” if they don’t want legal repercussions. These include “don’t comment on politically sensitive events”, “don’t believe in rumors”, “don’t pass on rumors”, “don’t spread internal materials”, “don’t post pornographic, drug-related, and terrorist-related contents”, “don’t post information about Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan before government posts on official websites”, “don’t comment on military events and documents involving state secrets”, “don’t pass on unconfirmed fundraising notices” and “don’t post about religion, ethnic unity, and unconfirmed information.”

In addition, all group chats will be subject to strict government management; users cannot post any information in WeChat that is detrimental to the country, the Communist Party, or Xinjiang. Those who post sensitive information will be severely punished.

A week later, they announced that all groups that contain ethnic minorities, who comprise a large portion of Xinjiang’s population and are routinely discriminated against and persecuted, will be disbanded. According to a Kazakh man, “The police also told us: ‘If the country asks you to die, you should die willingly. No nonsense. Dismiss all chats at once.’”

The new regulation also ordered all WeChat users to “control your mouth, control your hands, and do not believe in or pass on rumors.” Those who are deemed in violation of this will “bear the consequences.”

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those experienced by the people of Xinjiang, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.


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