Wednesday, July 27, 2011

China: Last Say on the Hotan Incident

My last two entries have related to the reported Hotan Incident in Xinjiang, China on July 18th.

Without going into details, for you are welcome to view the blog entries here, I had come to the conclusion that the "incident" as reported by the Chinese Government, the World Uyghur Congress and the media generally just did not add up. That there was something wrong on so many levels.

I have, frustratingly, and despite posting to Twitter and on G+, not been able to engender any enthusiasm for the story.

I had hoped that a journalist may have had a look at what my analysis contends and using resources that I, as a layman, do not have, look a little more deeply into the story.

Obviously some others have their reservations too. A couple of days after my original blog entry there have been three other mentions alluding to some of the issues I had problems with.

The first blog entry was by Xinjiang Far West China entitled  "What Really Happened in the Hotan Riots?" the author of the blog Josh Summers makes the following observations quoted verbatim

  • China Daily claims that this attack took place at the “Naarburg Street police station” and even shows a picture. What you don’t realize it that this picture is actually cropped. The original photo reveals a sign that says this police station is located at 357 East TaiBei Street. I think I know why this is, but the picture cropping still seems sketchy to me.
  • Peter Dixie, a follower of FWC on Twitter, noted the presence of Chinese fireworks on the steps of the police station in the picture above. Important? I’m not sure. But I do know that most police don’t blow up fireworks in their spare time.

Josh does not elaborate on the significance of the identification of the police station in question, but regardless, if he is correct why did the government identify the wrong location? Surely an incident of this magnitude would require an exact location to be reported.

Josh's second point, if true, is very important. I made the point in my analysis that the scene did not reflect that a deadly altercation occurred here that left 18 people dead. Josh points out that there is what appears to be spent fireworks on the steps of the station. Are these the "Molotov cocktails" that the Uyghurs were supposed to be armed with? Did the Uyghurs storm the police station tossing fireworks?

The next blog entry was at Xinjiang Review entitled "Understanding the Khotan violence in the Local Context: :

The author first explains why Chinese sources could have blamed outsiders for the incident

"To blame the outsiders to ignite the violence began to form a general pattern among China’s “anti-terror experts” to explain the violence committed by the Uyghurs, as clearly seen after the July 5th event."

I believe he then discounts the assertion that this was a terrorist event by explaining why a police station would be a target and I quote:

"Unlike other terrorists who selected high-value targets such as NYC or Mumbai, these Khotan “terrorists” strangely attacked a local police station in a remote oasis city. Why local police station? The Khotan incident indicates that the attackers targets what they are familiar with and, therefore, hate most, the Chinese police station. It is not a high-value target or symbolical marker and certainly does not represent an ideological ambition, be it terrorism or extremism."

Finally Voice of America (VOA) in it's article "Details of Alleged Xinjiang 'Terrorist Attack' Still Sketchy" did not offer anything new but the very fact that it was seen fit to bring up at all must points to a thought that there is doubt about this incident and it's reporting.

Unless anything startlingly new arises there is nothing more that I can add in support of my assertions and analysis.