Monday, July 06, 2009

Chinese Netizens "Tomb Digging" to Comment on Urumqi Riot

Not surprisingly, online comments regarding Sunday's violence in Urumqi, Xinjiang, have been closely watched by China's Internet censors.  As a result, no open public discussion is currently seen on China-based websites., China's No.1 online search provider, has closed down its BBS, or "bar," for Xinjiang and Urumqi. "We're very sorry, based on relevant laws and regulations, this bar is temporarily closed," a note on reads. 

But Chinese netizens have their way of going around the censorship. Numerous posts could still be found in other "bars" on On other popular public discussion websites such as, netizens are using a practise called "tomb digging," in which they dig up posts about Xinjiang or Urumqi originally posted in the past--back to as far as 2006--and add comments about the July 5 incident. 

On, for instance, there are several posts regarding Xinjiang, but their headlines shown on the main list contain no words relating to the latest violence. If one bothers to click on those posts and view the last page of comments, however, one could see newly added comments about the incident on Sunday. These "tomb digging" posts are changing rapidly, as online censors keep deleting them while netizens keep digging up new ones. 

Nonetheless, those who seek truth about the incident might be disappointed by the posts, since most of them, as of the time of this blog post, are comments from outsiders instead of first-hand accounts of what has happened. These comments express concerns, anger and sadness regarding the violence, as well as condemn Internet censorship. 

Some of the comments (in Chinese) could be found at: