One year on, the pain still hurts

08:17, July 05, 2010      

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People undergo security checks at the entrance of the International Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, last week. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

Victims recall the horror of the July 5 riots ahead of first anniversary. Cui Jia reports in Xinjiang.

Wang Yang's last memory of his parents is standing over their bloodied bodies in the street outside their home in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

His mother's last words to him had been: "Run home and hide."

Like hundreds of others who lost loved ones in the July 5 riots last year, the 6-year-old ethnic Han orphan is still adjusting to his new life, yet he insists he no longer feels afraid.

"I was so scared that (July 5) night. The rioters were scarier than any monsters I know," said Wang at the SOS Children's International Village, where he has lived for almost a year.

When Wang arrived at the village, staff said he refused to talk. He believed the safest place was under the bed - the place his mother taught him to hide.

"He was obviously traumatized by the whole thing," said Yao Yiyun, who is now the boy's full-time guardian. "We all were."

After his parents were brutally beaten to death, Wang said he returned with neighbors to where he had seen them last. "I found them lying on the ground bleeding. I kept shaking them to wake them up but they didn't respond," he recalled, staring blankly into the distance.

Shaking his head, he said: "I really don't want to think about it any more."

Yao said that since the youngster has been at the village, he has been obsessed with just one question: Why did the rioters take his mother and father away? "I have no answer to that," she said.

Today, Wang is enjoying his new life at the village, which is home to children from eight ethnic groups, including Uygur, Han and Kazak, and says his ambition is to become a great painter.

"Although I still miss my parents badly, thanks to my new 'mum' (Yao) and my friends, who have all been so good to me, I'm not scared any more," he said.

One person who has helped a great deal with Wang's slow but gradual recovery is fellow orphan Abduwarz. "Abduwarz is my best friend because he always protects me," said Wang, who is almost inseparable from his Uygur classmate.

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