China: Ethnically diverse forum shut down

Published on Global Voices, by John Kennedy, May 20th, 2008.

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.

All that remains now of Uighur Online, courtesy of

As it is the norm in China, no reason is given for website closures, just an order. All that can now be found at the site (here in chinese) or its sister site Uighur Biz (here in chinese) are instructions on how to donate to Chinese Red Cross, (in english) and this message: … (following is in chinese characteres) …

… (and later again in english): Friends of all ethnic groups, Hello everyone! It is with extremely heavy hearts that we hereby notify you that due to those reasons that everyone knows, Uighur Online has been closed.

Thank you everyone for your constant support, care and help for Uighur Online, and even more thanks to the members of the management team, the BBS webmasters, the editors, columnists, experts and the academics who have put so much into Uighur Online. In the two short years that Uighur Online has been around and with the efforts of a multi-ethnic management team, the site receives on average around one million pageviews per day, with tens of thousands of registered users. With all the people we’ve come to know and friends we’ve made from many different ethnic groups, our understanding of each other has both broadened and deepened. Uighur Online provided grassroots communication channels between different ethnic groups, allowing for conversations and discussions which, we firmly believe, were quite meaningful.

Contacts for written contributions to the site Uighur Online: e-mail-1, and e-mail-2. May 15, 2008.

The well-known Uighur Biz blogger on adds (in chinese) that the “Harmonization Department” which “cares for” these things was responsible for the closure; one reader there speculates on the reasons for Uighur Online’s closure writes: … (full long text on Global Voices, May 20, 2008).

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