Letter to the Public on July 5 Incident in Urumqi, Xinjiang
2009/07/23

Xinjiang is one of the most beautiful lands in China. Visitors from all over the world love its natural landscape and the people there, from different ethnic groups, who greet them with smiling faces.

However, on the evening of 5 July 2009, brutal violence broke out in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Rioters who, armed with sticks, knives and big stones, went on a killing rampage against innocent people. People fell to the ground, falling victim to violence. Stores were looted and smashed. Houses and buses were put on fire. 

184 people died, including 137 Han, 46 Uighurs and 1 Hui, another minority group in China. Over 1680 people were wounded. 56 people were killed on the spot of the attack. 300 stores and houses and 627 buses were burned. 

Families are heart-broken. They ask: Why did good people suffer so deeply? Who was behind the riot?

 

Was it caused by ethnic conflicts?

 

Framing the incident as "ethnic conflict" is a wrong way of looking at the issue. Since the founding of China, people in Xinjiang have exercised the right of ethnic autonomy. Different ethnic groups in Xinjiang live side by side like one big family, as they have been for centuries. The Government respects the customs and ways of living of Uighurs, supports the use of Uighur language in education, media, government and other areas. Achievements have been made in protecting Uighur culture. one notable achievement is that, the once-distinctive Twelve Muqam, known as the "mother of Uighur music" has been preserved and passed on from generation to generation.

 

Was it cause by religious conflicts?

 

People holding this view do not get the right side of the issue. The freedom of religious belief and commonplace religious activities are protected by the Constitution of China. In Xinjiang, where Uighurs account for 45.7% of the population, there are over 23000 mosques. The maintenance and repair of the mosques is high on the Government's agenda. In 2009,the Government earmarks 12 million Yuan to repair Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in Xinjiang. In the region, you also see temples and churches.

 

Was it caused by poverty?

 

People in Xinjiang, like their brothers and sisters in other parts of China, have been much better off over the past years, thanks to the successful policy of reform and opening up adopted 30 years ago. Xinjiang enjoys rapid and steady annual DGP growth of 10%, the best among the inland provinces of China. Per capital GDP rose from ¥313 Yuan in 1978 to ¥19893 Yuan in 2008. The Government is working hard to ensure that the wealth is properly distributed. 

 

Then, why did the violence break out? Who was behind the riot?

 

The July 5 Incident is neither an ethnic issue, nor a religious one. Evidence has shown that a secessionist organization called World Uyghur Congress and its ringleader Rebiya Kadeer are behind the riot. Rebiya made an issue of a criminal case in Guangdong Pronvice earlier, which was largely fanned by a rumour. She instigated people in Xinjiang, through the Internet, to protest and demonstrate. She wrote online, "Be braver." "Make some big news". After July 5, Rebiya took a number of interviews, lying about the truth and vilifying China's ethnic and religious policies.  

People in China are sad and angry. They speak in one voice to defend the unity and territorial integrity of China. 

Calm is being restored. People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are working hard to resume normal lives. People stand side by side because China is a big family.

 

 

 

                                Chinese Embassy in UAE

 

 

 

 

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