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.


  • yes1

    If most of the killed in the riot were hans, you can bet that anti-chinese crowd here will 1)pretend those killed were uighurs 2) try to justify why the hans were willed
    3) write something silly like \if the hans did not move in they would be saved.

    • Charles Liu

      Exactely! I really wonder where’s all the “bridge bloggers” now that news and opinions from China are all of sudden not what they want to “bridge”:

      A taxi driver surname Chen said, his wife riding with him was attacked by a Uyghur youth, her eyes were severly slashed.

      “Why doesn’t UA declear them terrorist?” he said. “What they’ve done to is us terrorism, isn’t it?”

      At a Urumqi hospital, a victim of the violence recounts how mob of men tartets Han people for assult and murder

      A man with two broken ribs and black eye says: “they don’t talk to us. When they see Hans walk by, they charge us. When bus drive by, they charge it and start hitting.”

  • zntab

    It is a shame that this civilian communist government is too sensitive to international media to the extent that the police are not allowed to handle the brutal Uigher protesters harshly. Iran has set a good example on how to handle violent rioters. China should now allow those non-Tibetans and non-Uighers to carry arms to protect themselves since the civilian government has failed to provide them the necessary security. It is also time that the military should take over to run the communist government.

  • FRED

    China is actually allowing foreign media to survey and interview the victims at the hospitals now. It looks like most of the victims are hans.

    I am expecting more news to come out on this tomorrow morning. Of course, the foreign media will still blame the hans although majority are killed and injured at the hands of the ever “peaceful” uighurs.

  • Malcolm Smith

    It’s good to see the Chinese government policy of censorship, complete denial of freedom of speech, et al, which we are told is necessary to ‘preserve the glorious harmony’ or some such bunk, has been so effective in preventing civil disorder in China. It sure looks much safer than here in ‘Crime ridden, disharmonious’ Britain, where the scariest thing I have observed in the past year is a few teenagers talking too loudly.

  • knights

    Hi Lam, I am back!

    I made some tibetan friends in the quieter post beijing olympics. The tibetans are nice. Dalai and the poor tibetans are used heavily by USA (anti-China) while they are being hated by pro-china groups. Anyway, the USA is really the culprit here. My tibetan friends tell me that if they go and march and make hate-china comments, they get greencards much easier than those that don’t.

  • […] want to lose sight of, say, news about Iran, or Honduras, or what’s happening to the Uighurs in China, to devour every detail of gossip about the last moments of MJ’s […]

  • R. Elgin

    Oiwan, the videos are blocked, here in South Korea. I can only view them when I use a proxy. I wonder if someone here does not want to make China angry?

  • […] Consiglio anche di continuare a seguire il dibattito su Globalvoices. […]

  • subjectivelistener

    If most of people being killed are Hans, assuming so, Ms Lam, what does it imply?

    If one day, the number is confirmed, would you appologize to Chinese hans?

    Dont make yourself sound like animal.

  • […] of Xinjiang province, has largely restored order and people are returning to their normal life. The violence that has led to 156 death in past a few days seemed to be gone, but the images of the brutal killings haunted people's […]

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