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Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 17:12 UK

Xinjiang violence: Views from China

Troops in central Urumqi, 8 July

As the situation in Xinjiang calms down, people from across China discuss the cause of the unrest and the impact it might have on social stability in the future.

Harry He, tradesman, Xian

I used to work for a travel company, so I've travelled to Xinjiang a lot. I was totally shocked when I heard what happened there.

Uighurs believe this is their land, and it is. But Han Chinese have been settling down there since the Tang dynasty, when the Silk Route opened up new cities and new opportunities.

Maybe the Chinese did rule Xinjiang with an iron first. But we are learning the lesson.

I am confident that my government is doing the right thing to bring harmony
Harry He

Things have already got better for ethnic minorities. In some ways, they enjoy more privileges. For example I have to study really hard to get into university while it's easier for Uighurs, as there is a reserved quota for them regardless of how well they've performed.

Uighurs have a bad reputation in the rest of China. They get involved in criminal activities. They also don't speak Mandarin well. That's why many Han Chinese have little respect for them and some even hate them.

Urumqi is a wealthy, modern city. Twenty years ago you couldn't see such prosperity. All this wealth goes back into their education and social welfare.

I've been reading blogs and I know that so many people want to talk about it. But I also know that if I post a comment, it will disappear in two minutes.

The government is controlling the information in order to contain the violence. Information should be released step by step, not at once. If they let people comment freely, anger and hatred will spread quickly and some Han Chinese might want to retaliate against Uighurs.

I am confident that my government is doing the right thing to bring harmony.

Kalder, IT engineer, Beijing, originally from Urumqi

I belong to the Hui minority group. Back in Urumqi I've got friends from the Hui, Han and Uighur groups. Relations between us have always been fine, that's why I was totally shocked when I heard what happened earlier in the week.

The most important thing for the stability of Xinjiang is economic prosperity benefiting everyone

I don't think the rioters represent the Uighur minority. Most of the Uighurs are good people and they don't want such things to happen.

I feel that both Uighurs and Hui people are supported by the government. It's easier for us to get into university and there are more opportunities.

It's true that many Han people have come to Xinjiang in the last few years and that more Han Chinese live in Urumqi than Uighurs. But I don't mind that. If I can come to Beijing, why can't Han Chinese go to Urumqi?

Residents in Urumqi, 9 July
Security forces separate the Uighur and Han Chinese neighbourhoods

I don't feel anybody is looking down on me here because I am from the Hui ethnic group. But I know that Han Chinese look down on Uighurs, because some Uighurs do bad things, like stealing, so they attract bad feelings.

The situation in Xinjiang is getting better and better. People earn more money, their life style is better than before and they are happier. The visitors from other parts of China create more, not less, opportunities.

So I think that the most important thing for the future stability of Xinjiang is economic prosperity benefiting everyone.

I am a little bit worried about stability in the short term. My parents told me that they feel much safer now that the army is there. So I think that the army should stay there for a few months at least to ensure the safety of the people there.

Uighur migrant worker, Dongguan, Guangdong province

This Uighur man, who has been working in Guangdong province for five years, wanted to remain anonymous.

I was shocked to hear about the recent unrest in Xinjiang. Violence is wrong, from whichever side.

It's obvious that just a handful of people took part in the rioting. My friends told me that they didn't recognise any of the guys that they saw in the TV reports - where were they from?

Attacking people and ransacking shops is definitely wrong, because it undermines national unity. I have many classmates and friends from many nationalities, and we all enjoy good relationships.

We cannot really tell what's happening from the reports on TV. We don't know what's going on behind the scenes. It must have been premeditated; otherwise, how come there were so many people?

I have many friends in Urumqi, but I haven't heard about these reports of large numbers of people at train stations and airports trying to leave.

July and August have always been popular with travellers, and people come and go. It is always difficult to get tickets during these months, and transport terminals are busy when things are normal.

Wang Bin, student, Chongqing, originally from Ningxia

I believe in what the government is saying - that the riots are caused by the World Uighur Congress, which used the Guangdong factory incident to fuel anger among Uighurs.

I think that Uighurs are angry because of the failure of the government's ethnic policy. China has given many privileges to minority groups. When Uighurs break the law, for example, they don't get punished as heavily as Han Chinese would.

I think that Uighurs can benefit more from the prosperity of Xinjiang
Wang Bin

But these privileges fail to bring true benefits to the Uighur people. As the economy develops, the gap between poor and rich within the Uighur ethnic group has become very big, just like anywhere else in China.

And some of them feel that they have been marginalised. I think this is the fundamental reason for the unrest.

In addition, it's true that there are many Han Chinese who went to Xinjiang in the last few years and in some industries there are more Han Chinese than Uighurs.

So I think that Uighurs can benefit more from the prosperity of Xinjiang.

I think that the government should start treating all ethnic groups equally. There shouldn't be any preferential treatment for anyone, so that all ethnicities can live together in harmony.



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