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'Death to China' heard at Rafsanjani sermon. Why?

Protesters also targeted Russia. Both countries had quickly recognized President Ahmadinejad's reelection victory last month.

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Several accounts of Rafsanjani's speech say the chants against China broke out after the cleric condemned China's crackdown in Xinjiang. The Guardian, liveblogging the speech, reports: "Rafsanjani criticizes China's suppression of Uighur unrest. His comments are greeted with rebellious cries of 'Down with China.' "

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Saeed Valadbaygi, liveblogging the sermon at Revolutionary Road, has this account: "Rafsanjani condemns China. People chanted 'Death to China.' He asks that people stop their chants." He quotes Rafsanjani as saying "China has a rational government. It must look at how it can benefit from its relations with the Islamic world. We hope that we will no longer be witness to such atrocities towards Muslims in China or anywhere else in the world."

Iran censored coverage of Uighur unrest
The Monitor reported recently that Muslim reaction to the unrest in Xinjiang has been, for the most part, notably muted. (An exception is Turkey, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the events "genocide" against the Uighurs, the Monitor reported. And on the extremist fringe, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb threatened to attack Chinese citizens in North Africa in retaliation.)

The Iranian government has been criticized for its tepid response to the Uighur killings. The New York Times reported that three prominent clerics condemned the government for not denouncing China's treatment of Uighurs, criticism laden with pointed domestic implications as well.

One of the clerics, Ayatollah Youssef Sanei, a reformist, drew a sardonic parallel, suggesting that Iran, which considers itself the defender of Muslims worldwide, could not criticize China’s repressive tactics while it was doing the same thing. He also said Iran’s silence was related to its commercial, military and political links with China.

The Guardian's Tehran correspondent said that Iranian state-run media censored coverage of the riots in Xinjiang, and "did not refer to Uighur protesters as Muslims, but called them 'hooligans.' "

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