China did not explain the reason for blocking the text editor, but several publications noted that the title and source code of the new update included the words Free Uyghur and Stand With Hong Kong.
The program was created in 2003 by the French developer Don Ho. The editor is free, works under Windows OS and supports about 90 languages.
This is not the first time the Notepad ++ team has expressed its political position. In 2014, words of support were found in the source code for the Protestants in Tiananmen Square. At the end of 2019, a version of the Free Uyghur program was released, after which the manufacturer’s website was attacked by hackers.
TechCrunch found that Notepad ++ was blocked only on the download page, where you can see the latest versions of the program. If you try to open the page from a Chinese browser, it will be blocked. Programs from Tencent (QQ Browser and built-in WeChat browser), Alibaba (UC Browser), 360 and Sogou note that the content is “banned by local regulators.”
The United Nations estimates that over a million Uyghur Muslims have been held in camps in China’s Xinjiang region in recent years. According to Human Rights Watch, Uyghurs are being held in prisons and educational camps; for millions of people, constant video surveillance is organized, and their social status and fate depend on the points awarded in the “social credit” system. Chinese officials explain the special measures against the Uighurs by the need to eradicate “terrorism.”
The Uyghurs are a Turkic-speaking people who overwhelmingly live in the Xinjiang region in the far west of China, called the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the PRC. By religion, the Uighurs are Sunni Muslims.