Vanessa Piao

When Zhang Ying obtained her master's degree three years ago, she had an enviable job offer in hand and a bonus in her arms - her newborn.

Dressed in a military trench coat and pair of studded boots, Erfan Ishaq, a 25-year-old Uygur singer-songwriter from the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, looks like he is being photographed for a magazine cover. Removing his mirrored aviator sunglasses, he flashes a warm smile and extends his hand: "Just call me Xiao Yi," he says, or "Little E". Ishaq's career has brought him to Beijing as an independent artist.

A Uygur Aids activist from Xinjiang was detained for allegedly endangering state security on the same day as outspoken Uygur academic Ilham Tohti was taken away by police, a former colleague said.


Fourteen people were killed and 10 injured in a stampede at a mosque in the northern Ningxia Hui autonomous region, state media reported.

The FBI says an attack on the Chinese consulate in San Francisco was arson and unlikely to have been a terrorist act. The fire that seriously damaged the building's main entrance was caused by a "gas-based device with accelerants", said Peter Lee, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


A man working as a cook in Hebei province has been rescued by the Japanese coastguard after he tried to fly to the disputed Diaoyu islands in a hot air balloon and crashed into the sea about 20 kilometres short of his destination.