Appeal to Media
Please send this to any media contacts you may have or be able to find as soon as possible. We cannot keep silent while the media is copying what China says. I am also disappointed by UAA press releases on Shaoguan and Urumchi incidents. They relied on figures provided by the Chinese media instead of using Uyghur sources. We have to put out our own version of events so that media may mention it alongside with the Chinese version or use it as references. China is using all its muscile to block information from independent sources. UAA or any other Uyghur organization should not rely on the Chinese propaganda as facts. These press releases are very weak and does not have life of its own. That is not good enough!!!
Yesterday, on July 5, 2009, thousands of Uyghur students took to the streets of Urumchi to show their displeasure at government’s handling of a mob attack on Uyghur workers a week earlier in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province, in which 18 Uyghurs were killed and more than 300 were injured, and to get an answer why the police did not show up for hours to stop the Chinese attackers. Yesterday’s student protest started as peaceful demonstration as several amateur videos posted on Youtube suggest (check the video links below). But, as usual, the authorities did not want to listen to the grievances of the students, and replied with excessive forces instead. Paramilitary police initially used tear gas to disperse the student protesters but started to shoot at them when they refused to leave. According to Uyghur witnesses, paramilitary forces started to shoot at any protester on sight in the evening, chasing them around in alleyways, and killed estimated 400 – 1000 young Uyghurs. However, the Chinese media today showed only some wounded Chinese victims and scenes of Uyghurs attacking on various vehicles, images that they selected to present to the world and the Han Chinese audience to portray Uyghurs as bad troublemaker terrorists, a tactic that caused all this mess in the first place. They said 156 people died and 818 were wounded, but did not mention who they were and how they died or wounded. But the authorities are doing their best to restrict coverage from independent sources by blocking internet sites and phone services.
If the government had simply explained Shaoguan situation, as the demonstrators demanded, all this bloodshed could have been avoided. But, once again the authorities used this occasion to kill more Uyghurs to satisfy its thirst for Uyghur blood. Clearly the authorities demonstrated the same attitude to Uyghurs as those Chinese attackers at Shaoguan did a week earlier—deep hatred.
Unfortunately, most international media outlets directly copied the news and images from the Chinese media and distributed them without proper investigation. By this time any responsible and observant journalist should know that China routinely lies in this kind of situation to cover up state abuses, especially when it comes to Uyghurs and Tibetans. For example, the Tiananmen massacre on Jun 4, 1989 did not happen on China’s book. It is disheartening that the international media completely ignored the incident in Shaoguan a week earlier, which led to yesterday’s demonstration in Urumchi.
What happened on Jun 26, 2009 in Shaoguan?
In recent years Chinese Government has been forcing young Uyghurs, primarily girls, against their wills to go to China’s coastal areas to work in factories as cheap labors as part of their scheme of assimilation. Last May they brought 800 Uyghur peasants to a toy factory in Shaoguan. The factory might have laid off some Chinese workers to make room for them. One disgruntled laid-off worker started a rumor that those new comer Uyghurs raped Chinese women. The Chinese workers believed this rumor easily because of the constant portrayal of Uyghurs as bad criminals and violent terrorists by the state media, and hundreds of them started to attack the Uyghurs randomly, killing 18 Uyghurs including 2 girls and injuring more than 300 according to Uyghur sources. Video images of that attack are unbearable to watch, the level of cruelty and hatred is uncomprehensible. One of the video clips posted by proud Chinese blogger shows a dozen Chinese were beating an Uyghur lying on the ground and yelling “you are still not dead yet, you are still not dead yet?” as they kept beating the motionless body.
According to Uyghur witnesses, some Chinese distributed a truck load of batons to Chinese workers. Security guards on site not only did not stop them but also helped distribute batons. The police did not show up for three hours. What is more outrageous is that those attackers were hailed as national heroes by Chinese bloggers who posted comments on those videos images. I browsed through Chinese sites and did not come across a single Chinese person showed any concern about innocent people being killed viciously like that for a false rumor. It is apparently a vicious hate crime that resulted from government’s constant portrayal of Uyghurs as bad terrorists. Considering that those poor peasants were brought there by force against their wills, the government should do more to protest them.
In Shaoguan the police did not show up for hours while Uyghurs were being murdered, but in Urumchi they showed up fast with fully loaded guns and did not hesitate to use them against armless students.
Xinjiang, which we call East Turkistan, is home to about nine million Uighurs. We, like the Tibetans have been suffering vicious political and religious persecution, ethnic discrimination and cultural genocide ever since the Chinese communists invade our homeland in 1949. China flooded our homeland with Chinese immigrants and marginalized the local people. The recent economic development in the area benefits mainly the Chinese immigrants not the Uyghurs and other local peoples. Unlike the Tibetans, the world did not pay any attention to us until the saga of 22 Uyghur men wrongfully detained at Guantanamo started to shed a light on the Uyghur situation in China.
China media carefully crops out the news and images that it wants the world to see and hides the actual full picture. I hope the international media will listen to the story of both sides involved before presenting the news from the Chinese media as facts.