There is still much that is unclear about what actually happened during that violent week in July 2009. But however terrible its cost - whether it was a massacre of peaceful protestors, an orchestrated episode of violence, or something in between - it was not without precedent. NICK HOLDSTOCK
In 1997 a small town in a remote part of China was shaken by violent protests that led to the imposition of martial law. Some said it was a peaceful demonstration that was brutally suppressed by the government; others that it was an act of terrorism. When Nick Holdstock arrived in 2001, the town was still bitterly divided. The main resentment was between the Uighurs (an ethnic minority in the region) and the Han (the ethnic majority in China). While living in Xinjiang, Holdstock was confronted with the political, economic and religious sources of conflict between these different communities, which would later result in the terrible violence of July 2009, when hundreds died in further riots in the region. The Tree that Bleeds is a book about what happens when people stop believing their government will listen.