BBS Posts: The Current Situation in Urumqi
Following the weekend’s unrest in Xinjiang, the current censorship and blocking of websites appears to be the most severe in history. Nevertheless, many Chinese netizens are still managing to access outside information and publish their views on the situation. For example, photographs taken by foreign journalists are being spread online; people are posting on Twitter despite the site being blocked; and netizens are still finding ways to post their views to BBS forums. Overseas Chinese websites and communities are also playing a role by posting information and discussions, many of which can find their way back into Chinese cyberspace. Below is an example of a comment posted on a BBS forum hosted overseas and then reposted onto a large China-based online community populated by Internet executive and journalists. The comment at the bottom was posted at the China-based online community.
The author of the post is called ulmqman, posted July 7, translated by CDT:
Phone calls can get through now, not landlines, but cellphones.
1．Yesterday Han people were very brave and aggressive. There were Han people with knives and clubs on the street everywhere. My sister said that the scene was terrifying, but also felt safe.
2．The reason Han people took to the streets is because small groups of Uighurs were out killing people. People were killed in front of the Railway Bureau, Hualin Market, Hulihua Hotel entrance. Han people called the police. Police said they do not have enough manpower and cannot come.
3．Those Han people went to the People’s Square to protest the government. Much of the police power was used to protect government and party committee buildings. On the People’s Square, there were police officers every meter. People were angry. They said that police are all protecting government agencies, there is no effective protection of ordinary people.
4．Nearby the Sun-Moon-Star (Riyuexingguang) residential district, some Uighurs were beaten to death. Han people were chasing five Uighurs, killed two. Emergency Medical Service came but cannot help, people did not let them to rescue them. But most people still say that we should not kill those innocent people. But those Han Chinese who were killing them said these Uighurs were attacking Han and that’s why they were being chased after that, for three killometers.
5．One woman who was killed at Erdaoqiao the day before yesterday was a neighbor of my sister. Her two brothers were all out to kill Uighurs. People like that are the most dangerous. Since no one knows who are the killers, they will kill any Uighurs they see.
6．There are still many work units still in business, Uighurs and Hans. Everyone is worried.
7．Yesterday there were still many Uighurs selling breads, but today they are all closed.
8．Kazakhs are in a very difficult situation. They don’t belong to either side. They are afraid of being killed by Uighurs, and afraid of being killed by Hans.
9. The children of my sister are now very afraid of Uighurs.
10. No one knows how this thing is going to end.
and prices have gone up very high.
* Comparing Tibet last year to today’s Xinjiang, the steps taken by the government are:
1, blocking news. Ordinary people do not get security warnings
2, when conflict escalates, using force to crack down
3, after the crackdown, blaming foreign forces for instigation and organizing.
In this triology, what people see is that the government has no intention to dialogue with Tibetans or Uighurs who were preparing protests, nor to seize the opportunity to prevent the escalation of conflict. There is no intention to perform the government’s duty to protect citizens safety. It seems like the government intentionally uses the death of ordinary people, further accusing the overseas hostile forces that exist in their mind.
The following comments, each responding to the previous one, were posted to the same China-based Internet community:
- I cannot say any more. My apologies to everyone. Those who do not get it can try again.
Yang Jia killed six policeman, is it a crime? yes.
Uighurs killed more than one hundred Han Chinese, is it a crime? yes.
What’s the reason for the killings? You may not want to know.
You can quietly execute Yang Jia.
But you cannot quietly execute Uighurs.
You can quietly execute many people, including me. That’s why I am not going to say any more.
Kill all the ethnic groups different than you, that’s so simple. But that’s how Yugoslavia fell apart.
One must not kill ethnic groups that are different than you. One must not persecute dissenting opinions. That’s called a Republic.
- Let me say clearly what you mean to say. You just want to say that the political system of this country is bad. xx Party is one party dictatorship. no human rights. no freedom. Therefore even Uighurs want independence; killing and arson are all understandable; and the government using force to crackdown needs to be condemned. But let me ask you something:
1, for those extreme Uighur separatists, as long as you include them into the map of this country, it does not matter what political system there is, they will not be happy. They want their independent country. If you are the leader, how do you satisfy them?
2, No matter who is in power, what political system it is, no government can allow the territory to be split. The Chinese government is maintaining the nation’s territorial integrity and social stability, cracking down on violent crimes. How are these actions against any “universal values?”
3, facing those rioters killing and arson, if one does not use force, how can you control the situation? by kneeling on the ground and praying? are you a Qigong master with supernatural power?
- If we had a good government and system, this kind of rebellion would not happen in the first place.
- Let’s not talk about whether the government and system is good or bad for now. Killing ordinary citizens is a crime against humanity. This must be executed without amnesty.
- In the short term, there is a need to crack down. But this is an ethnic nationality issue, it cannot be solved by killing a few Uighur terrorists.
The root of the problem is the policies and their implementation by our own government.
In normal times the government just uses appeasement in order to maintain stability. When things happen then they use force to crackdown. There is no mature plan.
If this time a few officials are removed, and with real reflection on ethnic polices, maybe there is hope. Otherwise the situation will only get worse in the hands of those officials.
The conflict between ethnic groups cannot be solved by force. How come the end result became a crowd of Han with clubs going around to chase Uighurs?! Those officials really should be the ones being killed.