China, Uighur Groups Give Conflicting Riot Accounts

As CDT reported earlier this week, the Chinese government and Uighur human rights groups have offered conflicting accounts of events that led to the violence in Urumqi on July 5. The Washington Post has more:

Chinese authorities have allowed foreign reporters access to the area where the clashes occurred and unusual freedom to conduct interviews, and they have provided evidence verifying the brutal attacks on Han Chinese. But few details are clear, and many witnesses who might be able to answer other questions — Who set off the initial violence? Why were the police unable to stop the attacks? — are either in jail or dead.

[…] Both sides face huge obstacles in trying to convince the world of their stories.

The Chinese government, after decades of covering up and denying such incidents, has a major trust problem, many analysts say. Chinese officials have said they will release video footage of the attacks, phone records and other evidence to support their view of the events in Urumqi, but have not yet done so.

For Kadeer, a 63-year-old former business mogul from Xinjiang who was exiled in 2005 and now lives in the Washington area, observers say the main challenge is convincing people that she can give an authoritative account of events that happened in a country she has not visited in years. Uighur exile groups have declined to provide information about their sources in China, saying they fear that those people will be arrested or worse if they speak out.

July 24, 2009 8:37 PM
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