China: Urumqi mass incident and beyond

According to Xinhua latest report (July 6), the violence in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has led to at least 140 people dead and 828 injured. The regional government said that the mass incident was masterminded by the World Uyghur Congress. However, Uyghur independent activist explained that the unrest was sparked by anger over a confrontation between Han Chinese and Uyghur factory workers in Shaoguan city.

Shaoguan June 26 riot

So what had actually happened in Shaoguan? According to the Chinese official report, the conflict on 26 of June was caused by a rumor about a sexual assault of Han Chinese woman worker in a factory campus by Uyghur worker. The armed fight between Han and Uyghur workers had led to the death of 2 Uyghurs (some unconfirmed sources said the number of death was up to 18 Uyghurs). The Youtube videos below showed the June 26 riot:

Ethnic policy and hatred

While the Chinese government continued to use western conspiracy theory in addressing the ethnic conflict, Drunken Pig pointed out from a Han Chinese perspective that the Shaoguan incident and other similar ethnic conflicts are a result of government's ethnic policy:


In Guangdong, sexual assault cases involving Han woman workers are not rare, but in most cases, the criminals would be arrested and would not result in massive gang fight. This time, the case had involved Uyghurs and the rumor said that local government had released the criminal without any punishment. Massive gang fight seeking for revenge thus took place…


Most mass incidents in the past few years were generated by hatred towards the privilege class supported by the State. The ethnic policy of the Chinese government has turned the Uyghur in Han regions into privileged social group, while at the same time, the Uyghur is deprived of their religious freedom and autonomy back home in the northwest region.

Repressing religion freedom


Because of the propaganda department's achievement, most Han people have very little knowledge and respect of others’ religions. For example some Han Chinese believe that pig is the ancestor of Muslim and that's why they do not eat pork. Ignorance leads to prejudice… Much of the hatred is incited by the government propaganda department …


In Guangdong, the Uyghur population is quite large, but we have very few Muslim temple. I believe religious activities can lower the crime rate.


The Han Chinese engaged in the killing (in Shaoguan) are very cruel. However, they have been suffering from injustice. Local government tends to protect the Uyghur people. In case of mass incident, it is common for the government to repress the Han Chinese, but they would be very careful in handling Uyghur people's protest. Sometimes the government would let the triad society to solve the Xinjian gangster problem.

Social minority and unemployment problem

Uighur online disagreed with Drunken pig's Han centric viewpoint and presented the other side of the story:


Thousands of Uyghur kids were kidnapped and beaten to become thieves in Han Chinese region. Can we say that Uyghur people are natural born thieves? Has the government done anything to help them? The fact that so many Uyghur kids have become thieves indicates that Uyghur people are at the lower strata of the society.

DXXX (account protected) from twitter also pointed out that:


In theory the Uyghur region is autonomous, in reality Uyghur is social minority in Xinjian. Han Chinese is the dominant language in the job market. Many corporates refuse to employ Uyghur. In sectors such as finance, communication, bank, oil and natural gas, Uyghur people could not enter. Government's discrimination has led to unemployment problem among Uyghur.

Urumqi mass incident

Back to the Urumqi Mass Incident, during the curfew, twitterer zz23377737 experienced 1. electricity cut. 2. disrupted tele-communication 3. non-stop police siren. Several twitterers said that the Internet connection was still cut unavailable this morning in Urumqi.

Below are two videos showing the protest scene:

ESWN has the most updated collection of news and informations on the Urumqi Mass Incident.


  • […] seguire quello che sta succedendo nello Xinjiang, consiglio di connettersi con questo thread di Globalvoices. Twitter è bloccato in Cina, ma forse qualcosa potrebbe comparire qui. Su YouTube compaiono nuovi […]

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  • Any independent confirmations on the ethnicity of those killed? Second hand reports from Beijing have told me they’re reporting those killed were Han Chinese.

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  • I bet most of the dead are Han Chinese. How crazy these rioters are!
    Visit my blog, see more brute pictures.

  • Charles Liu

    Lam, do you really think factory fight over rumors started by jilted worker justify the riot and violence?

    BTW, what the Reuters article doesn’t tell you is, Dilxat Raxit and World Uyghur Congress are funded by US government.

    As a tax payer I completely reject my governemnt using my money to foment violence in China.

    • To be more specific, the Uyghur American Association (a nonprofit US charity) is part of the World Uyghur Congress. The UAA receives funds from the National Endowment for Democracy, another nonprofit US charity. It’s the NED which gets most of its funding from the US Congress. So the connection isn’t quite as direct as Charles suggests.

      • Charles Liu

        Oh please Aaron, don’t insult people’s intelligence by omitting the fact the NED was created by US Congress to overtly conduct what the CIA used to coverly.

    • From what has been reported by Xinhua, even the Chinese government sees the Shaoguan gang fight as the reason for the initial peaceful protest (around 200 students outside the government building at Urumqi). Why and how the 200 protest turned into riot is yet not clear.

      • the tank man

        xinhua news agency is the loudest mouthpiece of
        the communist party .Even mainland chinese people
        don’t believe in what they publicize. We come
        to globalvoice because we believe it’s a place
        for facts and voices that are yearning to be
        heard.You need a thorough investigation and
        research for a professional news report rather than
        copy and paste broken sentences from

  • […] mainstream media would be likely to overlook, and eventually links to the better reporters like Global Voices and ESWN. I’ve been adding links using’s bookmarket feature, which makes things […]

  • […] at TND recommend this article at Global Voices for a strikingly nuanced discussion of Chinese attitudes towards the riots in Urumqi.  Reading, […]

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