By Li Hongmei People's Daily Online
Urumqi is sobbing, with a gloomy mourning air shrouded the far-flung city, home to over 2.3 million residents of Uighur, Han and other ethnicities. The hustling and bustling northwestern-most capital city of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, famous for its colorful and diverse cultures as a time-honored civilization composed mainly of the Uighurs while harboring various ethnic groups for generations, was ransacked overnight July 5th by rioters, an evident conspiracy hatched insidiously abroad.
On the bloody moment when rioting erupted, innocent residents, Uighur or Han Chinese, fell to victim without any exception. A sudden tragedy descended upon the whole city and misfortune overtook every dweller. Urumqi on that painful night ceased to be a romantic city tinted with some exotic hue, but a hell-on-earth fraying nerves of the ordinary civilians. The brutalities had already left 156 people dead, nearly 1,000 injured and a lot more heartbreaking with the loss of relatives and bankrupt by having their businesses ruined. People fleeing, crying and finding shelter anywhere formed a scene of dreadful confusion, and the outlaws' killing, smashing, looting and burning challenged the bottom line for tolerance of a peace-loving nation.
Now the nightmare has receded and the city returned to normal, with the deadly riot put down. But healing the wounds of the past days will take much longer, and the shock and trauma will linger on for some time. In the aftermath of the atrocities, the burning wrath once pent-up by fear and shock began to bite, especially for the bereaved, who couldn't recover from the life tragedy and would by no means forgive the brutal killers, and those who had their lifework destroyed with no reason. It was reported hundreds of them took to street going on the rampage and shouting 'blood for blood.'
Tears in eyes, and pushing their fists in the air, the protesting procession marched Tuesday in the deserted Urumqi streets. Needless to say, it was stopped by the armed police, for fear that the still simmering tension would escalate and if so, it would take a much heavier toll on innocent people's life and property. The local authorities are, therefore, trying their utmost to dissuade the protesters off the street, and encourage them to take up the weapon of Law and reason to stand up for their rights and interests. Seeking revenge based on the 'blood for blood' thinking is equally dangerous, as violence is never a means to beating violence. Instead, it could be utilized despicably by separatists, terrorists, and Islamic extremists abroad and their running dogs within China as a pretext to point spear toward the so-called ethnic antagonism and feud, as they have all along plotted to sabotage China's ethnic unity and social stability by inciting riots and even terrorist attacks.
Nothing is more invaluable than human life. And the core essence of human rights is to ensure a descent survival of any innocent life. Law is sacred to the extent that its dignity is on no account threatened by any atrocity committed by anyone.
Ever since the Tang Dynasty, Xinjiang has been a vast Chinese territory and the strategic doorway to Middle Asia. And in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the famous Silk Road starting from Xinjiang proper traced its way westwards and even led to Europe. It is no exaggeration to say Xinjiang enjoys an ancient civilization featuring both the uniqueness of its Xiyu culture, (Xiyu or Western Regions, a term for Xinjiang started in the Han Dynasty) and the melting pot with various other cultures.
Viewed from the prisms of either history or reality, the desperate outcry made by Rebiya Kadeer and her fanatical followers for 'Independence of East Turkistan' is simply baseless, as it will never gain ground among the Chinese people of different ethnicities, who are now bent on bettering their life and cherish more than ever a peaceful and harmonious society. A sampling survey conducted in Xinjiang in 2005 by Prof. Yang Shengmin at China's Central University for Nationalities indicated that 85% of the total 3,000 recipients thought positively of China's ongoing policies governing ethnic minority groups, and up to 90 percent of the interviewees, from different ethnic backgrounds, expressed adamant oppositions to separating Xinjiang from China's sovereignty, or 'Xinjiang's Independence,' as preached by the separatists and hostile forces abroad.
Strictly abiding by Law and acting on reason, China is holding the key to subsiding riots and settling its internal problems.