A white paper issued by China's State Council Information Office on Thursday hailed efforts to protect the public's right to freedom of expression in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The right to free expression is prescribed by China's Constitution, read the white paper titled "Human Rights in Xinjiang - Development and Progress."
To safeguard such a right and to expand, diversify, and improve access to the required channels, Xinjiang has created a wide range of Internet infrastructure and websites, while continuing to promote traditional media, such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines, it said.
"As a result, the citizens' right to information, right to participation, and right of scrutiny are guaranteed," the white paper said.
It said the number of netizens in Xinjiang rose from 448,000 in 2002 to 12,960,000 by the end of 2016. This growth rate ranked third in China, with a rate of penetration of 54.9 percent, which ranked first in the western region.