As CDT noted yesterday, Internet access was restored in Xinjiang after a ten-month blackout. The New York Times reports:
The announcement was made in the morning, and many residents in cities across Xinjiang took the day off from school or work to rush to Internet cafes, where they pored through months of unread e-mail messages or chatted over instant messaging. Some also dived back into online gaming, one of China’s most popular pastimes (“World of Warcraft” imitators being the most popular.)
The resumption of service was accompanied by a government propaganda campaign. New Dominion blog translates “Open Letter to All Netizen Friends Throughout Xinjiang” written by the regional government:
Since July, as our region began control over Internet communications and implementation of a gradual re-opening, Internet users far and wide have given their complete understanding and immense support, actively contributing to the protection of our region’s social stability and creating favorable conditions for implementing the reinstatement of the Internet throughout the region. For this, we express our heartfelt gratitude to all our netizen friends.
New Dominion also translated a commentary written in the local paper titled, “Diligently Protect a Healthy and Open Internet Environment“:
Recently, following the confirmation of a new round of aid to help Xinjiang surge forward, a group 19 city and province representatives finished a high-level inspection tour of Xinjiang; with the Central Committee’s Xinjiang Work Conference about to begin, Xinjiang has a historical opportunity for considerable growth, opening, and development. It is in this context that Internet service has been restored to Xinjiang, which is timing of extraordinary significance.
This news brings warmth to the popular sentiment of the people. It means our lives are finally back to normal and shows that the Party and the government, by ensuring stability, has care, empathy, and respect for the people.
…There are two sides to every issue. To separate the truth from the facts, it must be said that communication management is an important measure to undertake for the protection social stability in times of urgency. However, it also affected normal economic life throughout Xinjiang and inconvenienced the communication needs of the daily work and life of the masses.
In spite of these effects and inconveniences, cadres and peoples of every ethnicity within our region stood as one for protecting the motherland, united together to protect all peoples, and strove to protect overall social stability, overcoming the difficulties that occurred at work and in everyday life over this period of time, giving full understanding and support to communication management.