Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bloody Riots in China's Xinjiang

At least 156 people have been killed and more than 1080 others injured as ethnic violence erupted in Urumqi, northwestern China, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Started on Sunday night, officials said Monday the police put the death toll at 140. Among the 16 newly reported dead, some died in hospitals and others were recovered from street corners.

For decades China has been colonizing Xinjiang, a home to eight million Muslims Uighurs which is rich in oil and gas. They import many Han Chinese, who have now become the majority in the region and hold all political and economic power. Uighurs has suffered political and religious discrimination under Han Chinese rule. In spite of that, Uighur nationalists have waged a low-level campaign against Chinese rule and there continues to be infrequent outbreaks of violence.

Uighurs protesting against the arrest of relatives called for freedom of relatives. Many were women, wailing and waving the identity cards of husbands, brothers or sons they say were arbitrarily seized in sweeping arrests to Sunday's protests in the city of Urumqi.

"My husband was taken away yesterday by police. They didn't say why. They just took him away," a woman who identified herself as Maliya told Reuters. [World Bulletin News Desk]

Chinese riot police confront an Uyghur protester in Urumqi on July 7
[CNN Beijing Bureau Chief]


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