A nation attacked by terrorists or an oppressed minority whose legitimate grievances are brutally suppressed? However one interprets the recent violence in Xinjiang, it was far from unexpected, writes Nick Holdstock.
was a VSO teacher in China for four years. The Tree that Bleeds, his book about the Yining protests, will be published by Luath Press in early 2010. www.nickholdstock.com
The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region of China has seen a series of clashes between the majority Uighurs and Han Chinese settlers since the 1980s. But it was in the city of Yining that the largest protest took place on 5 February 1997. Initially written off by the Chinese authorities as an outbreak of random violence, since 9/11 it has been portrayed as the work of Islamist separatists. Nick Holdstock reports on a more nuanced reality of unemployment, religious repression, and the wish for independence.