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Uygur BBS back online

September 4th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Uighur-Online, a gathering place for many minority voices in Xinjiang that has often pushed the limits of political speech in China, is again available online (连接).

UO was pulled offline in May of this year, to my personal disappointment.  For previous discussion of the close down, refer to Global Voices Online:

On May 15, Uighur Online, the main online forum serving to bridge the huge communication gap between China’s Muslim population, other minority ethnic groups, and Han Chinese, was shut down.

Uighur Online’s attraction was in that it tolerated occasionally offensive and hateful opinions as valid parts of discussion; its closure, aside from being illegal, now only demonstrates the short-sightedness of those responsible. As with any influential blog or BBS forum in China, Uighur Online’s administrators were already in theory forced to censor any language which might alarm authorities. Now, all talks are off.

I’m happy to say that this forum for discussion is once again available, as of September 4th.  It seems obvious now that the site was pulled off as part of the security measures around the Olympics.   It also seems clear that as others have long-speculated (like the Uygurs on the forum mentioned in this previous entry), Uighur-Online must have solid political support from the central government.

I sympathize with those who believe the only long-term solution to racial tension in China is greater engagement, as shown in these online debates… and not articifical isolation.  We’ll be sure to translate some of the more heated discussions from UO going forward!

PS. Yes, Buxi is back! 🙂  Very gratifying to see everything running well, and our hard-working admin and writers contributing so regularly.  And look forward to speaking with all of my friends, apologies for the month-long absence!

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  1. yo
    September 4th, 2008 at 17:32 | #1

    Nice update on the story; I’m looking forward to reading your posts in the future. Welcome Back!

  2. September 4th, 2008 at 17:49 | #2

    Great to see the Uygur BBS back on-line. There were many paranoid reports in the Western press how China is going to clamp down with an iron fist after the Olympics are over. I never quite believed that.

    Most Chinese people really saw the Olympics as a chance to open up – not to close down (though most Chinese are also very concerned about face – hence all the restrictions during the Olympics).

    This is just another glimmer that China is moving in the right direction…

    And Buxi – welcome back!

  3. September 4th, 2008 at 17:50 | #3

    Yes, welcome back! everyone here misses you. 😉

  4. DJ
    September 4th, 2008 at 19:24 | #4


    Welcome back! Now it’s my turn to take a month long absence. What’s your experience in accessing this site from Beijing?

  5. Wahaha
    September 4th, 2008 at 19:29 | #5


    here is a link I believe people like to read :



    Buxi, welcome back.

    did you eat any exotic foods in beijing ?

  6. September 4th, 2008 at 20:30 | #6


    Thanks, added to the reading list.

    DJ, Have a nice trip. 🙂

  7. wukong
    September 4th, 2008 at 23:29 | #7

    Welcome back!

    Can’t wait to hear your experience in Beijing … good or bad, just lay it all out for us. 😛

  8. BMY
    September 5th, 2008 at 00:54 | #8

    yeah, Buxi is back !

  9. opersai
    September 5th, 2008 at 01:59 | #9

    Welcome back Buxi! missed you a lot.

  10. The Trapped!
    September 5th, 2008 at 10:36 | #10

    Welcome back, Buxi, though I didn’t know that you were away as I was also away from internet for around one month, hehe…!

    Well, optimistically speaking, I also agree with Allen that China will keep moving forwards. When I was on holiday at home, lots of Tibetans worry and asked me what may happen after the Olympics. I had to tell them that in my mind situation will get better, not worse as they suspect. Lots of them, with partially joke, said that the Chinese ( meaning Hans) will skin us up alive after the Olympics. I everywhere console them that the reason why China host world events like Olympics is that she wants to join the world more and more and joining the world means everything needs to be better, if not perfect. So, China will not paint dark on her own face and lose everything that she spent on Olympics. Hope no major mistakes after this great event!

  11. BMY
    September 5th, 2008 at 12:16 | #11

    @The Trapped,

    It’s so glad to hear what you were telling to your home villagers.
    Would you like to tell us like :did your home village folks watch Olympic on TV? What did they react when watching Chinese athletes wining medals?

    I am pretty sure some didn’t care,some liked, some didn’t like just like the reacts of people in every place. But I am still interested to know if you can share what you’ve seen in your village.

  12. BMY
    September 5th, 2008 at 12:40 | #12

    It’s good to know Uighur Online is back. . I only remember the webmaster said something like “由于众所周知的原因“ on the homepage when it was just shutdown. I thought it was because there were just too many extreme voices on both sides on that forum(just like many forums in China, I have to say) caused the shut down.

  13. September 6th, 2008 at 05:23 | #13

    @The Trapped!

    Lots of them, with partially joke, said that the Chinese ( meaning Hans) will skin us up alive after the Olympics. I everywhere console them that the reason why China host world events like Olympics is that she wants to join the world more and more and joining the world means everything needs to be better, if not perfect. So, China will not paint dark on her own face and lose everything that she spent on Olympics. Hope no major mistakes after this great event!

    That’s terrible … you must be joking…???

    As a Han Chinese, I want the gov’t to work with the Tibetans not just to save face in front of the world (that’s not the important thing in the long term) – but because Tibet must be an integral, thriving part of a prosperous China (please note that I don’t mean that as mere political rhetoric, but as a genuine expression of my identity as Chinese)!

  14. The Trapped!
    September 8th, 2008 at 07:15 | #14

    @ Allen,
    I agree with your point. Yes you right, when China think about Tibet, she should never take this as a way to save face in front of the world. And I also agree with you that Tibet must be a thriving part of a prosperous China with equal opportunity and equal recognition as well as the equal rights to use her own mother-tongue language as a mean of dealing with daily things like the Hans have full rights to use their own mother-tongue language. The reason why central government voice is not heard among majority Tibetans might be because there is very very limited medium. In Tibet, there is only one wholly-Tibetan language TV channel that operates for 12 hours, which is in XZTV and aims at only Tibetans inside TAR. The other satellite TV that has Tibetan language is QHTV. This has only 3 and half hours in the evening and same program rebroadcast in the next morning for around 3 hours. How can national events and its political and educational directions can be seen via just such limited resources by 6 million Tibetans who are scattered all over Qinghai-Tibet Plateau covering 2.4million square kilometers? Even when the officials go to rural areas for education or propaganda or whatever, they speak only in Chinese, even the Tibetans of course (constitutionally they don’t have to do so and doing so might get them in trouble, but who cares what’s happening in such remote areas?), so none or only few of the rural Tibetans can understand. For rest of them, it’s an alien language. This is more harder than for Mainlander Hans to understand if some leaders give them lectures in Cantonese or English. Same for radio programs. Well, here is a piece of story which tells the facts. Some time last year (not sure exact time, might be earlier), an official from China Central Broadcast Station came to some Tibetan area outside of TAR. He interviewed a nomad. “From where do you usually get news and other information?” The nomad answered, “We are listening foreign Tibetan language (might be RFA) radio secretly and we get news from this.” Then the official again asked, “Why you listen to illegal radio and not listening to our China’s media?” The nomad said, “In China, the only channel with Tibetan language we can get is Qinghai TV. Its’ news hour is just 15 minutes or so. While sit in front of TV and relax the Tibetan news runs away.”
    Actually this official might have felt this very heavy. After he went back Beijing, he initiated improving this facilities. Before that time, whole Tibetan programs in QHTV is just around 1 and half hour. Soon after that Tibetan program time became 3 and half hours and sometimes 4 hours. At the moment the TV station is busy of improving its human resource because they suddenly got this permission and they are not prepared. I have also heard that this channel Tibetan language programs will become even longer when human resource is ready. The provincial government is also making this process slow, complaining that they can not increase the budget for Tibetan programs. However, when orders come from upper, they have to follow, whether to bad or to good.

    @ BMY,
    Yes, they watched, at least the opening ceremony. However later the villagers complained that the too one-sided TV commentators makes it’s boring to watch.

  15. The Trapped!
    September 8th, 2008 at 07:29 | #15

    And these days whenever I am at home or any other Tibetan areas wherever QHTV is available, I watch it because I feel good. I feel now I am also a man whose mother-tongue language can be heard via modern technology in my own country. The news, I usually get from CCTV in first hand, but I still want to watch the Tibetan version. Watching TV dramas translated into Tibetan is more than watching Hollywood movie. See, only small gesture can make very big differences, so ignoring small things can cause big things.

  16. BMY
    September 8th, 2008 at 07:49 | #16

    @The Trapped,

    It’s very disappointing to hear there was such short hours of Tibetan language on TV/Radio programs. There should be full scale Tibetan language programs like the Mandarin programs in other provinces.

    It’s good to hear there has been some progress.

  17. September 8th, 2008 at 08:38 | #17

    another very good uighur BBS :http//www.xjmkh.com.cn

  18. Michelle
    September 8th, 2008 at 11:07 | #18

    http://www.uighuronline.cn/ seems to be blocked from here (Beijing). Can anyone check to see if they can access it?

  19. Michelle
    September 8th, 2008 at 11:08 | #19


    This one also…. 🙁

  20. Michelle
    September 8th, 2008 at 11:10 | #20

    this one is definitely blocked – i got a ‘does not exist’ page…

  21. XH
    September 8th, 2008 at 16:11 | #21

    I am in Shanghai, and I can access the Minkaohan website: http://www.xjmkh.com.cn/. However, the other two are off limits to me.

  22. BMY
    September 9th, 2008 at 03:35 | #22

    @Michelle and XH,

    Uighur Online web site is sitting somewhere in Beijing. The site might be down now for some reason.

  23. BMY
    September 9th, 2008 at 12:18 | #23

    Uighur Online is back up running now if you want to chek.

  24. GreggG
    May 15th, 2009 at 23:24 | #24

    Hey, this is my first post.
    is there just a lot of spam here or is there some useful info shared?
    Leave me a post and introduce yourself

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