The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
Do not reprint or report on the latest violent terror incident in Shache, Xinjiang. (November 30, 2014)
On Friday, November 28, 15 people died and 14 more were injured in an attack in Shache County, Kashar, Xinjiang. The AFP reports on state media coverage of the incident:
Fifteen people have been killed and 14 others wounded in a “terrorist attack” in China’s mostly Muslim Xinjiang region, the official Chinese news agency said Saturday.
A group of “terrorists” launched an attack on civilians Friday in Shache county, leaving four people dead and 14 wounded. Eleven “terrorists” were also shot dead during the violence, according to CCTV, China’s state broadcaster.
[…] At around 1.30pm (0530 GMT) on Friday men armed with knives threw explosive devices and attacked crowds on commercial street, Xinhua reported.
Eleven of the attackers were killed by police who were patrolling in the area. Explosives, knives and axes were seized at the scene. [Source]
In late July, at least 96 died in an attack in Shache, known as Yarkand in the Uyghur language. The cause of the earlier attack, which state media called “organized and premeditated,” was disputed, and Barbara Demick at the LA Times summed the incident up as “so shrouded in mystery that it would seem that nearly everybody who witnessed it took an oath of silence — or is dead.”
This is the latest in a series of recent violent attacks in Xinjiang blamed by the government on Uyghur separatists and religious extremists. Beijing has been tightly managing information about violence amid a yearlong terror crackdown in the region and in greater China.
Friday’s violence came a week after an Urumqi court upheld Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti’s life sentence for separatism; days later the same court tried seven of the jailed scholar’s former students for separatism.
Official media has reported 175 deaths in eight separate incidents in Xinjiang over the past six months, though censorship and the restriction of journalists from scenes of unrest in Xinjiang allows much room for distrust of the official narrative. Last week, in a six-month report card on the terror crackdown, Xinjiang authorities boasted that 115 “terror gangs” had been broken up, and 334 suspects arrested [Chinese]. However, violence in the region appears to be continuing—perhaps increasing—despite the anti-terror drive.
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.