China is a big country. By definition, its ethnic conflicts are localized. The newest is Inner Mongolia. And the mobile networks are being shut down, only in the affected region:
“First they shut down our Internet, then they interrupted our cellphone service and finally they imprisoned us at school,” said the student, an intense, foppishly dressed literature major who was not on campus when the lockdown took effect last Saturday. “The students are afraid, but more than that, they are angry.”
It appears that the shut downs are being done using special equipment, not at the network level:
Despite the official state of emergency, classes have been taking place as usual, although Internet access has been cut and wireless signal-blocking devices — four-stories tall and clearly visible from the street — have been playing havoc with cellphone reception.
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