Shocking: Xia Lin, Xinhua Deputy Chief Editor, Reveals Secret Details of Old News Stories

Following blogpost has been deleted from the original source,  but there are plenty of copies online, translated by CDT:

In the afternoon of May 15, Xia Lin, Chief Editor of Xinhua News Agency, and Editorial Department Director of Reference News, visited our school to present a report.  The topic of the report was “Understanding Journalistic Protocols for Covering Breaking News: Case Study of Xinhua News Agency’s Reporting of the Yushu Earthquake Relief Efforts.”  During his presentation, Mr. Xia Lin provided many shocking, and previously unknown details about the Wenchuan earthquate (1), Xinjiang’s July 5th Incident (2), and the return of the Shenzhou 5 (3). Below are several key excerpts compiled from a live recording of Xia Lin’s comments.  It is possible that there are inaccuracies or ambiguities.  In addition, Mr. Xia Lin has not reviewed [this document].  It is only provided for reference.

1. Reporter dresses up as solider to take pictures of the wreckage of a helicopter downed during the Wenchuan earthquake relief activities.

2. After the “July 5th incident” there was no “July 7th incident

3. Yang Liwei emerged from the cabin with his face covered in fresh blood.

1.  Reporter dresses up as solider to take pictures of the wreckage of a helicopter downed during the Wenchuan earthquake relief activities.

The helicopter was an extremely old Soviet Mi-171.  That model had been dubbed “the flying tractor” and did not have a “black box.”  This is why it took so long to discover the helicopter after the accident. The general location of the wreckage had been discovered by the people’s militia.  Xinhua reporter, Li Ziheng was sent to go investigate.  The military had blocked all information and were not willing to allow the news media to make any details public.  The perimeter of the site was guarded by soldiers. Li Ziheng “came by” a set of military clothing and muddled his way past the guards.  The soldiers at the site even let him help out with some work.  At night, in order to not expose their identities, Li Ziheng and an accompanying reporter [or reporters] spent the night hidden among the body bags.  They hiked across mountains and forests and finally were able to take firsthand pictures of the site.  They released images of the pilot’s body for internal reference and publicly released pictures of the aircraft wreckage.  As a result, the military had to come back and ask Xinhua the precise location of the aircraft. (4)

2.  After the “July 5th incident” there was no “July 7th incident.”

The July 5th incident was one of the worst ethnic conflicts in the history of the PRC. One hundred ninety-seven people died during the incident (according to statistics compiled on July 20th).  In contrast, only eighteen people died during the Lhasa March 14th incident (according to year end statistics).

On July 8th, Hu Jintao who was visiting abroad received Xinhua’s internal report of the conflict.  After reading the report and judging the situation, he decided to return to China.  The deciding factor in Hu Jintao’s judgment of the seriousness of the situation was this Xinhua internal report.  When the incident escalated from a small conflict into a battle for revenge between Han Chinese and Uyghurs, ethnic conflict began brewing.  It was because of these concerns that Hu Jintao decided to return to China to focus all his energies into handling the conflict. (5)

The government’s initial response was to take a tolerant, even permissive, approach to some of the troublemakers (predominately Uyghur) who had hurt and killed ordinary Han Chinese.  The Han thought that the government “hadn’t backed them up” so they spontaneously organized a self-defense resistance movement.  On July 7th, Han Chinese mobbing of Uyghurs reached its high point. What needs to be pointed out is that both the main perpetrators and also the victims of the fighting were ordinary innocent people from lower social classes.  During those days if you were driving your own car along the streets you wouldn’t have any problems, but the busses are where you would be exposed to their primary attacks.  Uyghurs standing at a bus stop would see that everyone had gotten onto the bus, then they would run over and block the bus.  They would choose a time when the bus was full of people unable to escape, to tip over the bus and set it on fire.  The passengers on the bus were burned alive.

After glancing through seventeen of the 175 photos that the journalist had taken, he [Xia Lin] couldn’t stand looking at any more of them.  According to autopsies performed by the judiciary, not only had the dead been murdered, you could basically say that they had been tortured to death.  Besides losing their lives, they had also been humiliated.  Even Uyghur women and children participated in the brutalities. Women and the children under their care would cheer on [the perpetrators] together, [some women] would even use their high-heeled shoes to trample the eyes of Han Chinese who had been beaten down and also strike their heads.  There was a child’s head [could also be translated “There were children’s heads] that had been severed and hung on the fence that divided the lanes of traffic. The naked corpse of a girl who worked at a massage parlor was laid out in the street, so as to shame Han Chinese.  After the military imposed order on the situation the town was divided; to the south of a major thoroughfare was Uyghur territory, to the north, Han territory.  The confrontation between the two ethnic groups was “just like the wall in Palestine,” he said.  July 7th was the third day of the conflict.  The Han Chinese planned to take to the streets looking for Uyghurs to whom they could exact revenge. Of course the government, taking into account the situation, said that “not a single person died.”  But Xinhua reporters were determined to go to the streets.  They skirted the “reporting route” that had been arranged and went into hospitals where they took pictures of the dead and injured.

The incident has been dubbed “battle of the grunt laborers” because those who participated in the fighting were from the lowest social classes of the Uyghur and the Han.  As the pictures show, they were carrying clubs in their hands, most were bare-chested, some had tattoos. Speaking of this he remarked, “Those who took to the streets had nothing.”

After reflecting on the causes of the incident, he remarked, “The current structure of Chinese society remains unstable.  Those unable to maintain stable lives for themselves are the majority. An ideal society should be shaped like a diamond, few at the top, few at the bottom, with the middle class being the majority.  Our society is currently shaped like a pyramid; the lower social classes compose the majority.  If the middle class, those with stable lives, composed the majority then they would definitely not want their current stable lives to be disrupted; therefore, they would actively work to promote stability.”

Insomuch as Hotan jade (6) represents Xinjiang, the July 5th riots are said to represent irreparable cracks in this jade emblem. In light of the situation as it existed at the time, publishing large numbers of actual photographs would have only further inflamed the ethnic conflict, causing the nation’s Han Chinese to attack Uyghurs.  This would have caused irreversible damage.  [Therefore,] Xinhua reported on the situation to the outside world to the smallest degree possible.  Further, they intentionally played down the important significance of the second wave of conflicts that occurred on July 7th. That is why people say, “After the ‘July 5th incident’ there was no ‘July 7th incident.’”  Actually, at the time twenty-seven provincial level administrative regions sent anti-riot police to Xinjiang to maintain order.

3.  Yang Liwei emerged from the cabin with his face covered in fresh blood.

When the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft successfully returned, the image of Yang Liwei emerging from the cabin was broadcast live to the entire world.  In those images, although Yang Liwei’s face appears a bit pale, his body appears sound. He was quickly carried off by a big group of anxious workers.  However, the Yang Liwei of those images had actually already been cleaned up.  When he first opened the cabin door his face was covered with fresh blood.  Then the blood was wiped from his face, and they re-filmed the image of him emerging from the cabin.  How could this be?  When Yang Liwei was being interviewed he revealed the dangers he experienced while taking off and landing.

When the spacecraft lands it must generate lift so as to avoid accelerating uncontrollably towards the earth.  Because of this, astronauts must bear loads many times greater than the force of gravity.  Yang Liwei stated that he experienced a force of four Gs.  A South Korean astronaut was injured when she experienced a force exceeding ten Gs. [Yang Liwei] was also injured because he experienced such a heavy force.

When the spaceship launched, a design flaw caused Yang Liwei to be exposed to serious infrasonic waves (7).  He said this caused his body to “resonate.”  Infrasonic waves can severely damage one’s organs and can even cause death.  They have even been researched by developed countries as a new model of weaponry.  The infrasonic waves continued for 26 seconds.  Yang Liwei stated that he felt as though he was “really going to become a sacrifice.” (8)

Upon returning to earth, Yang Liwei reported this design flaw to his superiors.  These problems were resolved in the next generation of Shenzhou spacecraft.  Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng’s ability to “enjoy” a bulls-eye, perpendicular landing that went perfectly according to plan had much to owe to Yang Liwei’s efforts.  Yang Liwei’s title of “space hero” is definitely well-deserved. In addition, Xinhua News Agency while reporting on the Shenzhou 5, not only used Inmarsat satellites for their connection system, they also used the Iridium satellite network.  Although Iridium was a commercial failure, filing for bankruptcy in 2000, it benefited from the support of the US military.  The Iridium system was nonetheless put to service for an important purpose.

Although best efforts have been made at fact checking, please understand that we cannot provide a 100% guarantee of the accuracy of the words [above].

(1) The Wenchuan earthquake, also known as the Sichuan earthquake, was a severe earthquake that occurred on May 12, 2008 and killed at least 68,000 people.  See and

(2) The July 5 incident refers to a series of violent riots over several days that broke out in Ürümqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), in northwestern China.  See

(3) China’s first manned spaceflight which was launched October 15, 2003.

(4) Article in Chinese.  The headline reads, “Reporter’s notebook, Li Ziheng: a visit to the ‘battlesite’ that exceeds the limits of life and death.”

(5) Article in Chinese.  The headline reads, “In light of the current situation in Xinjiang, Hu Jintao concludes his visits abroad and returns to China early.”

(6) Hotan jade (also known as Hetian jade) is a famous type of jade from Xinjiang.  Hotan was the main source of nephrite jade used in ancient China.

(7) Infrasonic waves are sounds or vibrations lower than 20 Hz (generally below the range of human hearing).

(8) Article in Chinese.  The headline reads “Yang Liwei recalls the moment of peril: large cracks suddenly appear on the window of the Shenzhou spacecraft.”

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