After the fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China, some young people held a memorial in front of the Chinese Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany. Although they didn’t chant slogans, the messages they sent was clear and powerful.
According to Germany’s Deutsche Welle, on November 30, the temperature in Frankfurt fluctuated from 41 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, night fell at 7:00 p.m.
That was the seventh day after the November 24 fire in Urumqi. The unidentified candlelight event organizer (temporarily called Y), understood the suffering of the Uyghurs. Y felt the need to speak up being deeply moved by the memorial activities on Urumqi Road in Shanghai. Y said, “Even the Chinese people have stood up, so what am I afraid of? This time there is nothing to be afraid of.”
According to Deutsche Welle (DW), during the Cultural Revolution, many young intellectuals from Shanghai came to Xinjiang to give birth and settle there.
On November 28, Y sent a bilingual Chinese-German poster to the Moments and WeChat groups that read, WeChat groups that read, “If you have time, come join us.”
According to traditional Asian culture, Y believes, “After these seven days, the spirits will no longer care about this earthly world.” Y said, “I just want them to take a closer look, the fire has killed a lot of people, but they are indifferent!”
At the scene, Y hung white protective suits, photos and cardboard with cọntent that condemn about epidemic control, the Uyghur genocide, speech censorship, and the June 4 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
Candles were arranged on the ground to form the words “November 24” and “Urumqi.” Some signs saying “Urumqi middle road in Shanghai” were posted on roadside light poles. Many others came, carrying candles, flowers, and handmade posters, some standing quietly holding a white sheet of A4 paper.
Not long ago, in the British city of Manchester, there was an incident where Chinese diplomats beat protesters.
DW said the Frankfurt consulate building opposite was mostly dark at the time, but two or three windows were lit. Someone said, “Aren’t they watching us?”
A few people nearby laughed, including a male student holding a sign that read, “Consular officer, hurry downstairs to take a nucleic acid test!” The other side of the sign reads: “Stresemannallee 19 – 23 is designated as a high risk area!”
The street name is the address of the Consulate General of China in Frankfurt.
Y wanted to keep things simple, and didn’t want to chant slogans or do anything extreme. Y just asked people to bring candles, flowers and white paper and thought that everyone should remember the victims in their own way. The fire killed more than 40 people. Y said that if you want to speak up about something right now, silence is the best sound.
Although the official death toll is 10, the Canada-based Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project (URAP) reports that the suspected death toll may be as high as 44.
More than forty people attended the event, much to Y’s own surprise, Y said, “I didn’t expect so many people to come today.” A poster about the memorial was put on a university propaganda column in the city of Darmstadt, nearly 20 miles south of Frankfurt. Correspondents of the local German media also came to the scene.
After the event, Y was quite emotional saying, “Young people today are wonderful. We were not brave like you when we were young.”
Two sets of protective suits with slogans hanging in front of Y’s restaurant were stolen, so Y wrote new slogans and hung them up, continued to place photos and candles, preparing for the next memorial events. Y said, “Internet censorship in China is getting worse and worse, and many mainlanders can’t read the news. But we can’t go back to the North Korea regime, can we? The more obedient people are, the more pitiful they become. Democracy and freedom of the press are extremely important.”