BEIJING: A teenage factory worker whose rumoured sexual assault last month is said to have sparked violence in Xinjiang, said yesterday that the incident was nothing more than an 'unintentional scream'.
Violence broke out at a Guangdong toy factory on June 26 after word spread that a Han Chinese girl had been sexually attacked by a Uighur worker.
But the alleged victim, factory trainee Huang Cuiling, 18, now says nothing of the sort happened to her.
The rural Guangdong native had been working at the factory for less than two months when she had an encounter with some Uighur workers on June 26.
Recalling what happened, she told the official Xinhua news agency yesterday: 'I was lost and entered the wrong dormitory and screamed when I saw those Uighur young men in the room.'
She said she had no idea why she was terrified. 'I just felt they were unfriendly so I turned and ran.'
She remembered that one of the men stood up and stamped his feet, as if he was about to chase her.
'I later realised that he was just making fun of me,' she said.
She spent the night with a school teacher who had accompanied her and some schoolmates to find jobs, unaware that her 'unintentional scream' had sparked clashes between hundreds of Han and Uighur workers at the factory.
Over 400 policemen were called in to break up the fight, which left 120 workers injured. Two Uighurs later died.
[While some may blame the girl for sparking the violence, unintentional or not, the fact that violence was so ready to break out over a misunderstanding implies that one or both sides were already inclined to misunderstand and that there were already bad blood such that any excuse would be seized upon as evidence of injustice by the other group. ]