Caring About The Violence In Urumqi Is Our Collective Responsability

By Dolores M. Bernal, NEWS JUNKIE POST

Twitter and YouTube have been shut down by the Chinese government as riots in Urumqi, the capital of the western province of Xinjiang, continue to make some headlines.

Since last Sunday, Urumqi has been the epicenter of China’s latest attempt at repressing the religious rights of Uyghurs, a Turcik ethnic group that practices the Muslim faith. Hundreds of people have been killed and injured.

The American press has covered the situation in Urumqi to some degree, but not to the level international outlets have done it. This is why, just like the people in Honduras and Iran, the use of social media to get the word out has become increasingly vital. But the Chinese government has resorted to filtering Internet communication from the region, cutting off those who could be alerting the world about the atrocities being committed in their communities.

According to Reporters Without Borders, only Chinese press had been allowed to go into Eastern China to cover the civil unrest in Urumqi. Three journalists were already arrested by the Chinese authorities. RWB has said that the Chinese press “has been evasive about its motives” for covering the crisis. Shutting down Internet communication is just another of China’s strategies to put a lid on things.

“All the leading media are controlled by the state but only independent and privately-owned news sources are inaccessible. We have not been able to access any forum since this morning. It has so far been very difficult to confirm the reports we have been getting,” said Uyghur PEN Centre general secretary Kasser on Tuesday.

But the latest news came last night, when China imposed a curfew on the Uyghur people and restricted them from going to pray at their mosques. Two mosques were later re-opened, but under careful Chinese military vigilance.

There is absolutely no excuse of why China should away with what it is doing. What’s happening to the Tibetans is now happening to the Uyghur. If North Korea, which is also a communist country, was doing this we would have already intervened. But the world is turning a blind eye on what the Chinese government is doing and letting China get away with their continued repression of human rights. It’s an outrage and a slap on the face on the U.S. and any other country that preaches democracy, but doesn’t lift one finger to help unless there is oil involved.

The NEWS JUNKIE POST has covered the violence in Urumqi and we’ll continue to do so, just as we covered Iran and Honduras. When the mainstream media places more emphasis on Michael Jackson, as my fellow colleague Gilbert Mercier mentioned yesterday in his editorial, we’ll meet our responsibility as journalists to bring you these world news in hopes that you will also, care.

VIDEO: Violence In Urumqi Continues