The 700-odd people, most of whom were complete strangers to each other, shared the 200 steamed buns available in the staff canteen, and huddled together for the night. "They fell asleep pillowing their heads on each other's legs," said Kamil Tursun.
Dilnur, 39 and nine months pregnant, was given the theater's only bed: a prop on the stage. "Had the theater not allowed me to stay, who knows what would have happened on my way home?"
Friendship as foreigners see it
"We often play basketball and go to the school canteen together," said Tokhtamov Zukhrullam, an exchange student from Kazakhstan, of the friendship with his schoolmates.
"Before I came, I heard about the alleged 'tension' between the Han and Uygur people in Xinjiang and was pretty cautious to start with," said Zukhrullam, who has studied for two years at Xinjiang University. "Now I've come to like them and made some very good friends, too."
Zukhrullam spends most weekends with his Uygur and Han friends. "They help me a lot in Chinese language and culture."
"I think my Uygur and Han classmates are more different as individuals than different ethnic groups," said Jury Jin Hee from the Republic of Korea. "They're still friendly and get along with each other after the riot."
At least 3,000 overseas students are studying in Urumqi. Some of them have gone home or left for sightseeing tours as the summer holidays have begun.
Canadian teacher Josph Kaber said he sensed tension when some Uygur-run stores on campus were closed after Sunday's riot. "The very next day, young couples were seen strolling by the artificial lake again, and I knew things were getting better."
Maura Sandra Fernandez, from the Philippines, said she received text message greetings from her students after the riot.
"I've taught in Urumqi for seven years. I love my students and they love me, too. I was relieved to find out not a single student of mine was involved in the violence."
(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2009)