Urumqi: Four months have passed since the bloody riots in Urumqi that killed almost 200 people, but the residents of the area say their lives will continue to be affected until full Internet service is restored to the city.
The central government blocked access to the Web in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region just 24 hours after the July 5 riot because it was a vital tool used by ringleaders.
Initial investigations suggested separatist groups based overseas used social networking and blogging sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Tencent QQ, and MSN to contact rioters and orchestrate the violence, which left 197 dead and more than 1,700 injured.
As yet, there has been no official announcement on when communications will be fully restored, and locals have complained the lockdown is disrupting harmless Web activities, such as e-commerce and online shopping.
The region`s telecommunications administration has appealed for understanding.
With the armed police withdrawing from the streets of Urumqi, and shops and restaurants once again bustling with customers, residents say the city is already on the road to recovery. The lifting of the Web ban would be one of the final ingredients,” The China Daily quoted some residents, as saying.
"Xinjiang needs the Internet. The region is already less developed (than other parts of the country) and cutting off the Net only make things worse. Imagine how many businesses could be lost because of the ban," said Jurat Hamiti, a 30-year-old businessman.