Reports have surfaced that residents in Urumqi, the capital of western Xinjiang Province, are being coerced to install an app called Jingwang (净网, “clean internet”) on their cell phones. Radio Free Asia (RFA) broke the news (in Chinese) on July 13 that the district government had sent a mobile notification instructing residents to install the app on July 10 to prevent access to “terrorist information.”
But soon after installing the software, 10 Kazakh women found themselves arrested for messages sent amongst themselves on a private WeChat group chat. A fellow Kazakh man told RFA that the “normal” women, who “have nothing to do with religion or politics,” were grabbed by the authorities a day after installing the application. The reporter at RFA noted that many Kazakh people, having recently been moved off of their land for development projects, had become aggrieved and began talking of immigrating to Kazakhstan.
Global Voices reported on July 19 that police were spot-checking residents to ensure they had downloaded the software.
China Digital Times has a roundup of this and other recent stories of heavy digital surveillance and police control in China’s Muslim-populated western state. This includes a story from the New York Times’s Edward Wong, who describes (paywall) in great detail — with multimedia accompaniment — what it feels like to look over your shoulder in Xinjiang and see plainclothes police at every turn.
Fewer ‘good air’ days in China despite official efforts / Agence France-Presse
Is air quality in China a social problem? / ChinaPower
Opinion: How badly is China’s Great Firewall hurting the country’s economy? / Foreign Policy
Amid VPN crackdown, China eyes upgrades to Great Firewall / Reuters
Read more on SupChina about the apparent virtual private network (VPN) crackdown: Updates from July 20 and July 12; also from when the latest round of rumors started on July 10.
Opinion: China’s other big export: pollution / NYT (paywall)
China reaps payoff from hand-picked team placed in Macau in 1990s / Reuters
‘No entry record’: Hong Kong activist detained in Shenzhen after border protest for late dissident Liu Xiaobo / Hong Kong Free Press