Uighurs Mark Anniversary of Deadly Ethnic Protests in China

Originally Published by Voice of America, 05 July 2010

By William Ide

Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress (file photo)
Photo: AP

Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress (file photo)

Uighur rights groups and activists rallied here in Washington on Monday to mark the one year anniversary of China’s worst ethnic violence in decades, which occurred in the remote western region of Xinjiang, and to protest what they say is China’s repression of Uighurs, the regions largest ethnic minority group.  VOA’s William Ide in Washington has more.

Dozens of Uighurs and activists rallied outside the Chinese embassy to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in last year’s violence.

Arafat Dilshat, a Uighur supporter, was among those who participated in the rally.

“Over 1,600 people died,” said Arafat Dilshat. “They were known as Uighurs, so we’re holding this protest today to remember all of those – our people, our brothers, sisters, family members – who died that day.”

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Effects of China’s ethnic riots linger

Originally published by USA TODAY,05 July 2010

BEIJING — Patrols of armed police, backed by thousands of newly installed surveillance cameras, ensured the northwest city of Urumqi stayed tense but trouble-free Monday, the first anniversary of ethnic riots that left nearly 200 people dead last July.The rioting in the capital city of Xinjiang province, home to Muslim Uighurs (WEE-gurs), was China‘s worst ethnic violence in decades. The riots spurred Beijing to strengthen security and boost a propaganda campaign in the remote, resource-rich region, which has long simmered with ethnic unrest.

In May, Chinese President Hu Jintao set out plans to achieve “leapfrog development and lasting stability” in Xinjiang, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. The nearly $1.5 billion project, to begin next year, aims to raise Xinjiang’s per capita GDP to the national average by 2015. It includes massive infrastructure spending, such as lengthening the region’s 521 miles of highways to nearly 2,500 over the next five years, Xinhua said

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A Year After Xinjiang Riots, Ethnic Tensions Remain

Originally published by TIME, 05 July 2010
By Austin Ramzy

One year ago, the streets of Urumqi were awash in blood. On July 5, 2009, hundreds of young men belonging to the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority rioted, beating and stabbing members of the Han majority on the streets of the capital of China’s restive northwestern region of Xinjiang. Two days later, Han residents took to the streets and, armed with clubs and knives, took revenge on the city’s Uighur community. All told, 197 people, mostly Han, were killed, and some 1,700 were wounded.

It was China’s worst ethnic violence in years. The central government blamed the bloodshed on outside agitators, namely overseas Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer, who has denied any involvement. But the ease with which the city’s running racial tensions exploded into mass violence made it clear that China had some deep problems within its own borders. In the past year it has turned to both economic incentives and a leadership shake-up to rebuild the peace in Xinjiang. (See pictures of last year’s riots.)

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Riot anniversary in China passes off peacefully

Originally published by HUFFINGTON POST,05 July 2010

BEIJING — Teams of police patrolled streets in the western region of Xinjiang as part of stringent security controls Monday on the one-year anniversary of China’s worst ethnic violence in decades. Despite tensions, there was no apparent sign of unrest.

An ethnic Han Chinese man who runs the Little West Gate Family Hotel in the regional capital of Urumqi said his family spent the day indoors as a precaution. The man, who would only give his surname Zhang, said shoppers had to go through airport-style security checks at the open air market in the city’s center.

Bags also were searched at airports, train stations and bus stops, said a receptionist surnamed Fang at the Yilong Hotel.

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Xinjiang riots: one year on, Uighur and Han fears still run deep

Security forces boost in China’s north-west region as economic stress divides ethnic groups
  Originally published by The Guardian, 5 July 2010

By Tania Branigan

Security forces in Urumqi, Xinjiang
Security forces patrolling last weekend in Xinjian’s capital, Urumqi. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters


At one point, Ilham Tohti estimated with a chuckle, he was the richest Uighur in Beijing. But he did not believe money solved every problem. “In Uighur society you could say the main issues are one – poverty and unemployment. Second, we are a people who believe in Islam and still have our own history and culture as well as language.”

 Surveillance and harassment have dogged China‘s leading Uighur intellectual for years, thanks to his analysis of the situation in Xinjiang. But sensitivity around the issue has been greater since inter-ethnic violence in the north-west region, a year ago today, left 200 mostly Han Chinese dead and 1,700 others injured.

 Armed police are patrolling Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in advance of the anniversary of China’s worst riots for decades. The region has recruited 5,000 extra security personnel , installed 40,000 riot-proof surveillance cameras and held special drills. The security budget has almost doubled to 2.9bn yuan (£281m) this year.

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Ending the silence on China’s Uighur repression

Originally published by The Washington Post, 05 July 2010

By Carl Gershman

Uighur women grieve for men they say were taken by authorities in a protest in Urumqi, China, last year.

Uighur women grieve for men they say were taken by authorities in a protest in Urumqi, China, last year. (Ng Han Guan/associated Press)

A year ago today, when Chinese police violently suppressed a peaceful protest by the Uighur minority in Urumqi, the capital of the western region of Xinjiang, the world essentially looked the other way. This is the message of “Can Anyone Hear Us?” a report that the Uyghur Human Rights Project recently issued on the unrest. Drawing on eyewitness accounts, the report details the firing on protesters that led to hundreds of deaths, as well as mass beatings, the arbitrary detention of thousands and a 10-month communications shutdown that cut off the region from the outside world. At a Washington conference last week where the report was released, an eyewitness testified that he saw police handing out steel batons to mobs of Han Chinese, confirming reports that security forces fomented anti-Uighur violence.

Beijing has blamed “overseas hostile forces” for the violence, especially Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, who was exiled to the United States from a Chinese prison in 2005. But the source of the unrest is entirely internal, the immediate cause being an attack on Uighur workers at a Guangdong toy factory 10 days before the Urumqi protests.

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Job discrimination riles China’s Uighurs

Originally published by AFP,05 July 2010

By Marianne Barriaux

URUMQI, China — Tursun’s eyes well up as she describes life as a Uighur in China, which she says is marred by overt discrimination in the job market — a source of much bitterness in the restive city of Urumqi.

“There are so many young Uighurs here who have been abroad, who speak perfect English, perfect Japanese,” the shopkeeper says in the violence-scarred capital of far-western Xinjiang region.

“But they can’t find good jobs despite that,” she says, gesturing to rows of market stalls and the vendors minding them.

“I’ve been for many job interviews here but they wouldn’t hire me because I’m a Uighur.”

Many Uighurs in Xinjiang complain about what they say is a job market openly skewed against them, with many of the better-paid professional and technical jobs going to members of the country’s Han Chinese majority.

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West China city braces for deadly riot anniversary

* Security tight, emotions still high

* China blames overseas agitators for riots

* Grievances behind violence have not been addressed

Originally published by Reuters,04 July 2010
Emma Graham-Harrison

URUMQI, China, July 4 (Reuters) – The capital of China’s remote western region of Xinjiang feels like a city under siege, the day before it marks the first anniversary of ethnic rioting which killed around 200 people.

Armed police, some with helmets and shields, elbow through Urumqi’s crowded roadside restaurants, security cameras monitor buses and taxis, guards check the bags of visitors to markets and hotels, the city’s central square is closed for repairs and some shops are shuttered on quieter-than-usual streets.

A year ago ethnic tensions between Han Chinese and Uighur residents of the far-flung city exploded into the worst rioting China has seen in decades, and emotions are still high between the peoples caught up in days of mob violence, who live parallel but largely separate lives.

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