Homepage > News > China > 

Opinion: Who would plead guilty in Xinjiang riot

2009-07-12 10:12 BJT

Special Report: 7.5 Xinjiang Urumqi Riots |

by Xinhua writer Zhou Yan

BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Nearly a week after the deadly riot bruised Urumqi and sent residents fleeing its major streets, it was quite a relief to see people gradually return to normal life.

The first weekend after last Sunday's riot seemed peaceful in Urumqi, with residents strolling in downtown parks with their families, banks reopening after a five-day business suspension and business owners looking to the future. Some people began holding funeral rites for the dead, while soldiers in riot gear stood guard nearby.

A group of photos filed by my colleagues in Urumqi Saturday showed snow white pigeons, the symbol for peace, swaggering in a square near the city's major bazaar. On one of them, a woman was crouching, reaching out an arm to cuddle one of the birds while a baby rests in her other arm. From the looks in their eyes I read lust for life as it is.

Canadian teacher Josph Kaber said he sensed tension when some Uygur-run stores on the campus of Xinjiang University were closed after Sunday's riot. "The very next day, young couples were seen strolling by the artificial lake again, and I knew things were getting better."

But for those bereaved of their beloved ones in last Sunday's riot, the worst to have hit the Uygur autonomous region in six decades, the trauma would probably take a lifetime to heal.

Chinese people customarily think the seventh day after death is an important occasion for families and friends to mourn the deceased.

Now on the eve of this special mourning day, as shock and terror at the bloodshed give way to anguished quest for the cause of the tragedy, we all feel their grief and are ourselves eager to find out the black hand behind the terror.

It is not surprising that Rebiya Kadeer is in the spotlight. If not for what happened in Urumqi last Sunday, most Chinese people knew little of the former businesswoman who built a fortune in Urumqi and became a rising star on the country's political arena, got jailed for stealing national secret, and fled to the United States in 2005.