Facebook is the oldest, most popular and largest social network in the world. Facebook has over 1.7 billion active users out of the over 7 billion people in the world. Facebook is a huge platform where people interact across the world, it is a platform that connects all races. Currently, the net worth of Facebook is $55.3 billion.
It would be surprising to know that some countries legally ban the use of Facebook within the country. China is one of such, China is the most populous country in the world. Facebook was banned in China in July, 2009 after the Ürümqi riot by the Xinjiang activists.
The Ürümqi riot happened on 5th of July, 2009 in Ürümqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. Xinjiang is a large central-Asian region within the People’s Republic of China comprising numerous minority groups: 45% of its population are Uyghurs, and 40% are Han. Its heavily industrialised capital.
The riot was a violent attack that lasted for several days, it started with a protest but later aggravated to a violet attack that mainly targeted Han people. People’s Armed Police were deployed, and two days later hundreds of Han people clashed with both police and Uyghurs. a total of 197 people died, among those killed most of them are Hans, with 1,721 others injured and many vehicles and buildings destroyed. Ürümqi, has a population of more than 2.3 million, about 75% of whom are Han, 12.8% are Uyghur, and 10% are from other ethnic groups.
During and after this riot, the use of mobile phones and internet was restricted. In order to mitigate the riot, China Mobile phone service was distorted, international calls were blocked, and Internet connections in the region had been disconnected and access to non-local websites were denied for like a year.
The bone of contention was as a result of the disagreement between the Uyghurs and the mostly Han government, in which one party feels superior to the other. The Uyghurs believe their ancestors were native of the area, whereas the Han government considers present-day Xinjiang to have belonged to China since around 200 BC.The Uyghurs are classified as minors and considered to be natives of Xinjiang instead of the Han, and have no special rights to the land under the law.
As part of the measures the government adopted to palliate this menace is the ban placed on the use of Facebook because, they believed Facebook was the means by which Xinjiang independence activists communicate, thus, adding salt to the injury of the riot.
The Google China problem is also a menace to the use of Facebook in China. The Google China problem is a breach of agreement between Google and Chinese government, which was centered on the fact that Chinese government used the company’s service, the Gmail precisely, to spy on human rights activists. It was concluded that the aim of the attacks was to gain information on weapon systems, political dissidents, and valuable source code that powers software applications.
However, a social network named Renren is popular in China. It is similar to Facebook and accepted in China. Facebook can only be accessed in China at the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.