The “July 5th Urumqi Massacre” and a turning point in China’s Uyghur policy

The “July 5th Urumqi Massacre”, which has been documented by overseas Uighurs for 15 years, arose from protests against the attack and beating to death of Uighur workers at the Shouri Toy Factory in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province, China on June 26, 2009. On July 5 of that year, Uighur youths in Urumqi held a peaceful protest against the Chinese government’s unequal policies towards Uighurs and the Shaoguan massacre. The protests were violently suppressed by the Chinese government.

One of the analysts interviewed by our radio station, Hu Peng from New York City, believes the “July 5 incident” is a manifestation of the Chinese government’s repressive policy against the Uighurs.

He said the July 5th protests, which were sparked by Uighur protests against the Chinese Communist government’s oppression and plundering policies since 1949, marked a major turning point in the Chinese government’s shift to genocidal policies targeting the entire Uighur people.

Hu Ping explained his views as follows: “The July 5 incident in 2009 was a very serious incident. First of all, it was the result of the long-term policy of the Chinese Communist Party authorities to discriminate and suppress the rights of the Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, which has intensified ethnic divisions and conflicts. After the July 5 incident, the Chinese Communist Party government announced that it would adopt the so-called “soft policy” of dismissing Wang Lechuan, the party secretary of the Uighur Autonomous Region, and appointing Zhang Chunshan, the party secretary of Hunan Province, instead. This was an admission that the extreme repressive policy implemented by the authorities in the region was the cause of the ‘July 5 protests’ and the previous protests. All of this was an admission by the Chinese government that autonomy was never guaranteed in the Uighur region that was given as an autonomous region, and more importantly, it was a gradual admission that the Chinese government has been suppressing and oppressing the rights of the Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The policy applied to the Uighurs.

Hu Ping also summarized the causes of the “July 5th Urumqi Massacre” in 2009 and the Chinese government’s policies over the following 15 years, revealing to the world the policies the Chinese government has implemented against China. Later, Wang Lechuan was transferred and replaced by Zhang Chunshan, who announced that he would implement the so-called “soft policy,” but soon transferred Chen Quanguo and implemented a more hardline and radical policy. Numerous “concentration camps” were established in the area, and mass abductions continue to this day.

Irshat Hasan, vice chairman of the World Uyghur Congress Executive Committee and a Uyghur activist in the United States, also gave an interview.

He began by talking about the June 26th Shaoguan Incident that triggered the 2009 July 5th Protests, and the Chinese government’s policies towards the Uighurs at the time.

It describes the “June 26 Shaoguan Incident” as “an attack and murder of Uighurs who were forced into slave labor,” and the “July 5 Urumqi Massacre,” in which the Uighurs were brutally oppressed, as the starting point of the Chinese government’s “genocidal policy” targeting all Uighurs.

Irshat Hasan also spoke about the period of the so-called “soft policy” under Zhang Chunxian, which was transferred to the region after the “July 5 Urumqi Massacre”, stressing that this period was actually a preparatory stage for the Chinese government’s attitude towards the Uyghurs and the upcoming “genocide” policy.

Chinese state media continues to hide from the world the truth about the June 26th Chaoguan Incident and the July 5th Massacre, which triggered the 2009 “Urumqi July 5th Protests”. Chinese media highlighted the deaths of two Uighur workers in a clash at the Shouri Toy Factory in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province on June 26th of that year. The incident was widely reported on social media created by Uighurs, resulting in 197 deaths and over 1,000 injuries in the “July 5th Incident” in Urumqi. Chinese authorities have also condemned the incident as an act of violence. However, the Chinese government continues to hide the number of Uighurs abducted in the region during the July 7th attack on Uighurs by Chinese nationals with hammers, as well as the September attacks on Uighurs that year. This was unacceptable. Under these circumstances, Uyghur organizations such as the World Uyghur Congress and independent media such as the Uyghur Section of Free Asia have revealed the true circumstances of more than 18 Uyghurs who were attacked and killed by Chinese people in the “June 26 Shaoguan Incident,” the many Uyghurs who were shot dead by Chinese police and military during the Uyghur protests on July 5, and in particular the many Uyghurs who died in incidents in which Chinese people attacked Uyghurs with clubs on the streets.

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