It was a sheer slaughter of civilians, men and women, old and young, in an otherwise tranquil, peaceful and charming land. Overnight, Urumqi was turned into hell on earth.
The deadly riots in the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which on Sunday night claimed 156 lives and left 1,080 wounded, is the most serious outbreak of violence in the region since the People's Republic was founded 60 years ago.
It is by no means a simple expression of a people's grievance arising from a criminal case in a Guangdong toy factory on June 26, in which two Uygur workers were killed in a clash with their colleagues.
It is deliberately planned and organized carnage aimed at putting the autonomous region in the spotlight of the international community to serve the ulterior political purposes of terrorists and separatists.
Evidence so far has fully demonstrated that the overseas separatist group of World Uygur Congress (WUR) masterminded the bloody riots from the very beginning. To synchronize with the Urumqi riots and thereby generate more publicity, the separatists outside China also launched protests in front of Chinese embassies in Germany, the Netherlands and other countries, and even attempted to break into the embassy premises in The Hague the next day. On Tuesday, as they demonstrated in Washington, they called on foreign governments to support their cause to "liberate" "East Turkestan" that has never existed.
Sunday's Urumqi riots reminded Chinese people of the Lhasa violence that took place on March 14 last year. In that event, the rioters did resort to the same ploy of indiscriminate killing, smashing, looting and burning. That, too, was carnage in which innocent people died.
Indeed, there are astonishing similarities between the two separatist groups. They have repeatedly used the same tactics as if fellow pupils who graduated from the same insurgence crash course.
Both the bloody riots were depicted by certain persons and media as "peaceful" rallies aimed at pursuing "lost" democracy and human rights, which, without explanation, somehow quickly evolved into violence that spread harm and terror among the innocent and peaceful citizens and their properties.
Also, the rioters were portrayed as victims. To catch international attention and solicit sympathy from the Western world, all propaganda resources were mobilized in an attempt to bring criminals to the fore as representatives of a just and fair cause.
Both the groups, while using the local people as cheap sacrificial lambs for their personal ambitions, also appoint themselves as the natural, political and spiritual representatives of the local communities. And both have never let slip a chance for "political occasions" and meetings with foreign political figures.
However, no excuse can justify the atrocities against innocent people, be it in Urumqi or Lhasa. And, democracy and human rights should in no case be abused to provide legitimacy for acts like smashing and burning privately-owned shops and beating and killing men and women in broad daylight.
But the bloodstains in the market streets, both in Urumqi and in Lhasa, have laid bare the lies concocted by separatist propaganda agents such as commitment to peace and non-violence, care for human rights, and willingness to talk.
In the latest Urumqi riots, not only the Han people, people of Uygur or other ethnic groups were also the victims. The same holds true of the Lhasa violence last March.
The facts clearly show that all that Xinjiang and Tibet secessionists have done are for their own political ambitions and purposes rather than for the well-being of their people.
As a country where the rule of law prevails, China will under no circumstances tolerate civil and societal order being trampled. The bloodshed in Urumqi serves a reminder that some anti-China forces are still active outside the country and would stoop to any level to disrupt the country's stability and harmony.
The more all the ethnic groups in China share from its economic development, the more the separatists will try to instigate violence.
But blood should not be shed in vain. The perpetrators must be ferreted out and put on trial, and justice must be done.
As a big family of 56 ethnic groups, China and the Chinese people have long cherished peace and unity and abhorred those who work against it. Ethnic unity turns out to have been an endless source of strength for the building and development of the Chinese nation although the country did experience ethnic strife and conflict in history.
A peaceful, stable and developing China is the country's largest contribution to the world. Uninformed people in the West should not let themselves be deluded by the hypocritical nature of the Xinjiang and Tibet secessionists, and become their tools for their dangerous but futile cause.
(China Daily 07/10/2009 page8)