Sending a CD from Xinjiang? Think Again | Xinjiang: Far West China

Sending a CD from Xinjiang? Think Again

February 23 | 12 Comments

While most of the focus of Xinjiang’s communication clampdown has been on the internet, I thought I’d share with you one more intriguing part of the new life here in the restricted province.

Read More: FWC articles about Xinjiang’s internet clampdown

A CD-R with pictures...or spy material A Chinese friend of mine needed to mail a CD to a colleague in Shanghai which had various work-related designs and documents that needed review. When he went to the post office to mail this CD he was informed of new rules that stipulate all electronic media need to be checked and given the appropriate authorization before being sent.

Of course it seems like common sense that this checking process should take place in the post office…but it doesn’t. No, one must first make a 10 minute trek to the central government building where the media is inspected and given the red-stamp of approval. You must then return to the post office with stamp and CD in hand to complete the process.

It’s not a terrible inconvenience…I mean, how often do I send a CD by mail? In fact, if feels a lot like waiting in line at an airport nowadays watching everyone slowly take off their shoes or explain exactly what’s in that tiny bottle.

It’s all in the name of safety, and it goes on until we eventually forget how things used to be.

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

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  1. I remember having to do this 10 years ago in order to send a CD of wedding photos from Shanghai to Xinjiang. Are you sure that (a) this is a new rule and (b) it's aimed at Xinjiang?


  2. Ditto 四维罗子.
    I was instructed to do the same in Shanghai when attempting to send a CD to the US several months ago; I doubt this is (at least in nature) a xinjiang-specific measure.


  3. You guys had to take the CD down to the head government office? I remember sending a CD a couple years ago that had to be checked at the post office, but I never had to drive a few kilometers to get the red stamp of approval.

    Then again, you both may very well be right. I've never lived outside of this province so I don't know procedures in Shanghai or Beijing. Thanks for sharing your experience and now you can know for sure how it is here in Xinjiang.

    If there's anybody else who reads this who has experience sending data via the post office here in China I'd want to hear your story. Is this a China-wide thing or is this part of the Xinjiang information crackdown?


  4. In my case, I was given a slip at the post office and had to take the CD to some government office for inspection. I don't recall exactly what sort of government office it was, but I recall it being related to publishing. As I recall, they didn't actually inspect it; they asked me what was on it and then affixed their stamp. Perhaps the regulation isn't new but it's now being enforced more stringently. Or perhaps there are different regs in Xinjiang. Do you know what office you took the CD to?


  5. Two years ago when I thought I was leaving China, I mailed many of my belongings back to Spain from a post office in a small Shandong city. The post office rejected my DVDs, however. I was told that it is not allowed to send any kind of information storage device without government approval, so I think this is not just a Xinjiang regulation. Since I knew I could just stick the DVDs in my suitcase I didn't bother about getting the approval. (The DVDs were personal files, not movie DVDs.)


  6. @四维罗子 – My friend and I took the DVD to the primary government office, but I live in a small city so that could just be because all departments were under the same roof there. I think you're right, though…it's probably one of the many rules that you never notice in China until its strictly enforced.

    @globalgal – yea, I've done that, too. They only check digital media that you send via post. They don't care what you carry out of the country on your person. I guess we should be glad, though, cause that would make for a HORRIBLE security line at the airport!


  7. I still remember my wife wanted to send a copy of our wedding DVD to my parents. The post office refused to send it because the company that took the video put it on a DVD with label that used a picture of Mickey Mouse. Apparently you can't send anything that infringes on international copyrights.

    You're right, it will probably continue until it's as common as all the security checks at the airport. I'm planning on taking the train on my next trip.


  8. I remember arguing with local post office staff in Wuhan back in the 1990s after receiving a letter which obviously had been opened and sealed again (no CD only letter in foreign language inside). The staff said to me that "it is illegal to open letters in China", but then added that "you have to go to the foreign affairs office to deal with this"…


  9. The situation you describe appears to have been standard operational procedure throughout China when I first came.


  10. what about sending CD/DVD to China, Beijing specif. My friend wants me to send them some music and movies and crossword puzzles….


    Josh on June 27th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Sending things to China isn’t a problem at all. It’s when you try to send stuff out of the country that it starts to get a little tricky. I was sent plenty of DVD’s while I lived in China.