The Uighur Riots in China: What do Facebook groups say?

  • Mohamed Alaa Abdel-Moneim American University
  • Rita J. Simon American University


In July  2009, China witnessed its worst ethnic clashes in decades, excluding those in Tibet, when  protests by Uighurs in Urumqi, capital of the western Xinjiang province, turned violent after police intervention. The protest started after two Uighur workers in the southern district of Guangdong had been killed as a result of racial violence. Soon afterwards, individuals belonging to the majority Han ethnicity, who represent about 92% of the Chinese population, but only 40% of the population of Xinjiang, attacked Uighur targets and individuals. The death toll rose to at least 150 individuals, although the racial breakdown of the deceased is still not quite clear. The government moved quickly to round up suspects and threatened to execute those directly involved in the violent incidents. Hundreds of Uighurs were detained by police.

Author Biographies

Mohamed Alaa Abdel-Moneim, American University
Mohamed Alaa Abdel-Moneim is a PhD candidate at American University, Washington, DC. He is also a Lecturing Assistant in the Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt.
Rita J. Simon, American University
Rita J. Simon is University Professor at American University, Washington, DC.