In 2009, a demonstration in Urumqi deteriorated into one of the bloodiest riots in contemporary Chinese history. Some scholars and media groups have responded to the event by focusing public attention on the bottom-up, ethnic, and social aspects of Xinjiang's conflict phenomenon. This article raises questions and concerns about framing the 2009 event from an ethnic and social standpoint. The authors combine conflict studies with a longue durée historical analysis to argue that multiple dimensions and the intersections of these dimensions constitute the 2009 Urumqi uprising. Present conflict is placed against a backdrop of unequal Chinese state policies with Xinjiang. The authors then forward a Uyghur perspective underpinned by peace and conflict studies concepts. The conclusion recommends conflict prevention strategies by urging the Government of the People's Republic of China to take ownership of the consequences of its policies and the broken contracts with Uyghur minorities in Xinjiang.