Monday, July 25, 2011

Hotan attack takes a toll on business (and logic)

In my last blog post I suggested I had serious concerns about what had been reported relating to the recent, serious, incident in Hotan Xinjiang. 

I attempted in my analysis to point to things I thought were incongruous in the reports by both the Chinese Government and the Uyghur exile community and the lack of condemnation or calls for explanations coming from the international diplomatic community.

I have linked here to an article from the South China Post from a journalist supposedly reporting from Hotan. Once again things do not add up in my mind, vis a vis the official reports. I will therefore go through the article and point to those things which seem not to stand up to scrutiny or tests of credibility.

The areas I have italicised and emboldened are those I have problems with.

In the lead the journalist states:

"Fears of further violent incidents, coupled with growing misunderstanding
 between the minority Han Chinese and the Uyghurs, is taking its toll on businesses in Hotan, Xinjiang, a week after 18 people were killed in an attack on a police station in the city."

"Growing misunderstanding"? 18 people were supposed to have died including two Han woman and the reporter's lead talks of "growing misunderstanding'?

The journalist then interviews a Han businessman, a Mr.Qu, who said, it is reported, that

owners of businesses in the Uyghur-populated region would never forget the burning to death of a Han family of six, who operated a grain and oil grocery store, by a group of Uyghurs during riots in Urumqi on July 5, 2009. 

Mr Qu talks about the burning to death of 6 Han in Urumqi two years earlier when two Han women were supposed to have been brutally murdered at the local police station just days prior?

Another interviewee, a restaurant owner, is reported to have said:

 "On the day the killing took place, I received 20 calls from relatives in my hometown and another 30 from friends in Urumqi," 

Well  it may be a translation problem or the way the interviewee speaks but "On the day of the killing..." Would not one have said on the day of the "killings"? Perhaps my Chinese friends could enlighten me if this is how a Chinese Han person would refer to an 18 person massacre.

The journalist then went on to say

"The threat of being subject to attacks is causing trepidation among Han Chinese "And this is not helped by disturbing rumours circulating in the city."

"Trepidation"? I would have thought terror perhaps.

The journalist then elaborated on the rumour, and, please note, the Tuesday referred to is the day after the incident.

"Within the Han community there is gossip that two Han Chinese lovers had their throats cut by Uygurs somewhere in the city last Tuesday evening."  

Firstly "gossip"? In a town of only 114,000 odd people of which only 3% are Han such an event could not be kept as gossip in what you would think to be a tight community of people and so soon after what supposedly transpired.

The journalist then went on to say that the police would not verify the rumour but, strangely enough, confirmed two people had been seriously injured. Now, whether two people were, or were not, injured is not the question, The question is why would any Han, especially a young female student, be out at night a day after a "massacre" which involved the deaths of two Han women in extremely violent circumstances?

Then, the icing on the cake, the following quote. I do not need to remind you we are talking about a major incident that supposedly resulted in the deaths of 18 people as a result of an attack on a police station no less, and, included four innocent people of whom two were Han women.

However, Qu, who has had Uygur friends since childhood, is still cautiously optimistic. "Time might be the only panacea for this problem," he said. "Maybe over time we can eliminate this hostility and rebuild the mutual trust between the minority Han Chinese and majority Uygurs in Hotan."

A Han man is "cautiously optimistic" that "we can eliminate this hostility and rebuild "mutual trust"?  Are these the words of a Hotan minority Han man after such a horrendous incident? Is 18 dead just "hostility"? Can one ever rebuild "mutual trust" after such a horrendous event?

I was wary of taking a final position in my previous blog but if this story is

  1. True, that the journalist actually conducted these interviews and 
  2. The journalist, or whoever lodged the this is half way a professional

then, combined with my analysis in my foregoing blog entry, I will state categorically that this incident in Hotan, as reported, did not happen.

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