The Monitor spoke with the exiled mother figure for China's Uighurs about the deadly riots, independence, and China's use of the label of 'terrorist.'
Taking a cue from Western PR tactics, Beijing moved away from trying to block coverage altogether – and was benefited by doing so.
Rebiya Kadeer is a petite, successful businesswoman, who now lives in exile in Virgina.
But the issues they raised are longstanding, going back to China's "strike hard" policy against the mainly Muslim minority – a policy that was strengthened by US cooperation following 9/11.
Beijing's severe treatment of Uighurs – and Tibetans, too – may be an attempt to prevent a breakup similar to that of the Soviet Union.
Police established a curfew Tuesday, as 20,000 security forces roamed the streets. Internet connections have also been cut to prevent the violence from 'spreading.'
The violence brings into question China's hard-line policy against Uighur ethnic minority.
Given political sensitivities and a Stalinist grip on the region's population, no one – from Uighurs on the street to Beijing intellectuals – appears willing to talk.