Blogs » Ni Howdy - Chinese for Texans » A Little Rioting to Bring Me Back

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Hello Vicad Readers,

I must apologize, again, for leaving this blog space empty, again. Over the last few months my growing frustration over increased Internet censorship has caused me to visit fewer and fewer websites, culminating in a near abandonment of web surfing this past month. I have put my personal blog on summer hiatus, and I should have done the same here, instead of leaving a blank space and big question mark as to when I would return.

Never before has my dislike of censorship, in all its forms, been more clear. This I know - censorship leads to creative breakdown. We need free and open exchanges of information (from all viewpoints) in order to create, in order to develop new ideas, in order to function as a democracy! I need only look at my own writing over the last month. Every time I approached the blank page, attempting to write a post for this blog and/or my personal blog, I was creatively blocked. So I would just close the browser and watch a DVD. My daily access to other blogs having been cut, I was no longer "filling the creative well" so to speak.

But today I realized I should have been looking around me, in books, magazines and the people on the street for inspiration, and news of the rioting in the far western province of Xinjiang has lured me back to the blog. I will not let censorship keep me away from the thing I love - writing and sharing my expat experiences.

Now, just what is happening in Xinjiang? I really don't know. I cannot trust the Chinese media to tell the whole truth, but neither can I trust Western media to have free access to the truth or even a completely unbiased reporting. The situation is just too complicated, as it was over a year ago in Lhasa, Tibet.

What we have understood is that the Uygur community in Urumqi reacted to news that Uygur workers in another part of China, Guangdong Province, were injured and/or killed in an unfortunate incident involving another disgruntled former worker (of the Han majority), who started a false rumor that the Uygur men raped two Han women. Demonstrations in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Province, demanding an enquiry eventually devolved into rioting, with a large number of people killed and injured. What I do not know is how that all actually played out. Who killed who and how? With the Internet cut off to Xinjiang Province and a China wide blockage of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, it is difficult to share information with people inside Urumqi.

I would like share a few links to blogs that I believe are sharing useful information. First, a balanced look at the difficulties in media reporting from a well-known China blogger: Riots in Xinjiang and the Price of Omission. And for a compendium of coverage, visit EastSouthWestNorth, a Hong Kong based blogger who consistently provides quality China related blogging. He combs through Chinese and Western media and blogs and links to relevant posts and stories. So far he has two pages of coverage: The Urumqi Mass Incident. As I find more relevant and interesting posts, I will link them here on the blog. Feel free to post questions regarding the situation in the comments, I will do my best to answer if I can!

One thing that I would like to stress is that this is not an incident fueled by religion, although the Uygur people are Muslim. This incident is directly related to the ethnic tension between the Uygurs and other Chinese ethnicities that have immigrated into the once predominately Uygur region. These other ethnicities are composed of Han, China's majority, and Hui, another Muslim minority group, and perhaps other smaller groups.

I will be back, but I will commit myself at this time to only one post per week! Anything more should be considered a bonus! ;)