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Fresh protests erupt in China's Xinjiang region

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Women in flowered headscarves scuffled with armed police Tuesday in a fresh protest in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where at least 156 people have been killed and more than 1,400 arrested in the area's worst ethnic violence in decades.

About 200 Uighurs blocked a street, some screaming that their husbands and children had been arrested in the massive crackdown on members of the Muslim minority by Chinese authorities since the violence started Sunday in the Xinjiang capital.

The incident played out in front of reporters who were being taken by authorities around the city to see the charred aftermath of the riots. Riot police were at one end of the street, and paramilitary police at the other.

One woman said her husband was taken away and she would rather die than live without him.

As they marched down the street, paramilitary police with sticks marched toward them and pushed the crowd back. A woman fell. The brief scuffle ended when the police retreated. More police with assault rifles and tear gas guns took up positions on the other side of the crowd.

The women stayed in the street, pumping their fists in the air and wailing. Meanwhile, police tried to weed the men out of the crowd, herding them down a side street. Two boys ran out of an alley, and a policeman barked "Go home" and grabbed one around the neck, pushing him.

The 90-minute protest ended when the women walked back into a market area without resistance. Police also tried to shepherd the journalists away.

The new protest came after state media said Tuesday that police had arrested 1,434 suspects for their roles in Sunday's riot.

The violence does not bode well for China's efforts to calm long-simmering ethnic tensions between the minority Uighur people, largely Muslim, and the ethnic Han Chinese in Xinjiang — a sprawling region three times the size of Texas that shares borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries.

Many Uighurs haven't been wooed by China's rapid economic development, which has attracted large numbers of Han — China's ethnic majority — into Xinjiang. Some want independence, while others feel they're being marginalized in their homeland.

There were no independent figures on the ethnic breakdown of the casualties in the rioting. Xinhua quoted Li Yi, head of the publicity department of the Communist Party in Xinjiang, as saying Tuesday that 129 men and 27 women died. Li said 1,080 people were hurt in the rioting.

The unrest in Urumqi began Sunday after 1,000 to 3,000 protesters gathered at the People's Square and protested the June 25 deaths of Uighur factory workers killed in a riot in southern China. Xinhua said two died; other sources put the figure higher.

Internet and social networking reports on the incident had raised tensions in Xinjiang over the last two weeks. Mobile phone service and the social networking site Twitter have now been blocked, and Internet links were cut or slowed down.

A nonviolent protest by 200 people Monday was broken up in a second city, Kashgar, and the official Xinhua News Agency said police had evidence that demonstrators were trying to organize more unrest in Kashgar, Yili and Aksu. It said police had raided several groups plotting unrest in Dawan township in Urumqi, as well as at a former race course that is home to a transient population.

The government often says the Uighurs should be grateful for the roads, railways, schools, hospitals and oil fields it has been building in Xinjiang, a region known for scorching deserts and snowy mountain ranges.

But Uighurs have said the government limits their religious freedom. After a series of deadly attacks in the region during the Beijing Olympics last year, overseas Uighur rights groups accused the government of mass arrests, which police deny. Several local governments also cracked down during the Muslim month of Ramadan, ordering government employees, teachers and students not to fast and increasing surveillance of mosques.

Similar tensions exist in Tibet, where a violent protest last year left many Tibetan communities living under clamped-down security ever since.

Uighurs frequently compare their persecution to that imposed on Tibet, but say their cause is not as well known because they lack a Dalai Lama to publicize their cause.

But one spokeswoman, the exiled Xinjiang Muslim Rebiya Kadeer, called a news conference in Washington on Monday to refute accusations by the Chinese government that she orchestrated the riots.

Kadeer, now president of the World Uyghur Congress and Uyghur American Association, said she learned from Web sites of protests planned by Uighurs, and she called her brother to urge him and other family members to stay away.

The real problem, she said, is brutal repression of Uighurs by the government.

"Any Uighur who dares to express the slightest protest, however peaceful, is dealt with by brutal force," Kadeer said.

She condemned "the violent actions of some of the Uighur demonstrators" said she and her organizations mourn the loss of life of both Uighurs and Han Chinese, but she estimated that more than 90 percent of those killed have been Uighurs.


Associated Press Writer Matthew Barakat in Washington contributed to this report.

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


25 Comments
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ensuring ‘‘stability and unity’’

Let me translate:

Having police shoot randomly at people protesting peacfully.

Installing surveillance software on every single computer in China (not yet, but soon http://is.gd/1pwl2 )

Their "monk shooting season" seems to be over mostly, but China is really living in "interesting times"...

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Overturning buses, cars and torching small businesses is not peaceful protest.

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Thanks aj2o1, I was watching the scenes on CNN. Those were NOT peaceful protests. There are always two sides to every story we see on TV, and each side spins the story to their advantage. Difficult for a casual observer to know what is really taking place.

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And of course the Western media do their best of describing this as an "ethnic" conflict, totally obfuscating that this is yet another muslim separatist effort. Which, by the way, has been going on for a long time, but one has to read the small print to notice that.

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And of course the Western media do their best of describing this as an "ethnic" conflict, totally obfuscating that this is yet another muslim separatist effort.

couldn't agree more

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Independence for the Wiggers!

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Long-live one strong China.

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yet another muslim separatist effort

It is ethnic instead of religious , because if it were the latter instead of the former , then the Hui ( Muslim Han ) should be trying to separate too.

I can't believe that there are actually posters here who are DEFENDING Chinese imperialism . They must be Han themselves . So it's okay for the Han to marginalize and eventually eradicate the Uighur from their own Homeland? Let's see how you'll feel when China someday does the same thing to Japan and the rest of world...

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WilliB,

And of course the Western media do their best of describing this as an "ethnic"

That probably has to do with Western Media (and Chinese media) recognizing that this is an ethnic issue, not a religious one. It has never been a religious one.

Please refrain from grinding your "Muslims are Our Enemies" axe at yet ANOTHER unrelated thread.

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Looks like western propaganda, aimed at overthrowing the Iranian governments democratic win has backfired. Now Iranian pro-democracy protesters are terrorist, and the Uighurs, whoever are still alive will be branded terrorists. Also, China will be angry, further destroying our aims to help these people.

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156 killed + chinese govt math = 600 killed

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Den Den, do you really think the PRC needed an excuse? Just look at Tibet.

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So it's okay for the Han to marginalize and eventually eradicate the Uighur …

Answer would be “no” A big group of chinese just try to take revenge and they too got gear gas. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jWjsLkVdJt80QgWuRDq5FsJ5CpRw

the people from a peaceful religion burn supermarket, bus, beat-up people on bus and in town to demonstrate their peaceful protest.

Now this people meet with equally peaceful force offered by the communist! it is an equally peaceful beat up match.

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If these people want independence, perhaps the han Chinese should give it to them.

DenDen, what do you mean the pro-democracy Iranians are now terrorists?

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If these people want independence, perhaps the han Chinese should give it to them.

I think that's been the prevailing wisdom regarding Tibet for the past 50 years.

But still to no avail, of course.

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And Taiwan.

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And Hong Kong.

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Looks like western propaganda, aimed at overthrowing the Iranian governments democratic win has backfired

Wrong thread already , wrong reasoning anyway . I can't believe that anybody is also DEFENDING Iranian dictatorship as well !

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this will help complete the lists

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_autonomist_and_secessionist_movements

every one seem to want an independence.

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the death: Holy cow! Well, I guess my idea is out the window. that sure is a lot of groups seeking independence. No, these people better make good with the Chinese, otherwise, they'll crush them. But, the Chinese should start understanding that not all Chinese are alike.

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"I can't believe that there are actually posters here who are DEFENDING Chinese imperialism ."

Nah, willi's conspiracy Pakistan muslim conspiracy theory isn't working out, so any other world incidents involving muslims need to be seized upon to belch the hate out there....

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skipthesong, yeah you got my point. to me, the communist chinese definitely should treat their minority a lot better than this. it is such a big country with many many people. it is impossible everyone can be the same, act the same, do the same.

i should say every country in the world should do, it isn't only the chinese.

on the other hand, i don't think, it can't help anything offering independent to just about everyone asking for it.

we will highly possible see more people ask for independence, and some group will go violence hurt and kill innocent people, terrorist act, etc whatever to get attention from the world. that is wrong to me.

we has been damning the chinese a lot on the way they handled things. but we sometime miss saying thing about the other side of the violence too.

both side should learn to live together and accept each other difference. and i think that is only in my daydream! better weak up, don't i?

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As ye sow so shall ye reap.

Now we witness the fruits of the PRC's long held policy if using state sponsered Han Chinese immigration to establish control over its disperate outer provinces. The Han monopolize the local government and economy while squeezing out the locals and their culture and language. The same tactic has been widely used in Tibet, and with the same results: rising ethnic resentment resulting violent anti-Han outbursts. Not that the PRC really cares; just more fuel for the propaganda machine and another reason to crack down. (And there isn't any Olympics this time to focus the world's attention on the ugly mess.)

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Triumvere, you are spot on. But now that the Chinese are actually there (in both Xinjiang and Tibet), they certainly are not going to leave. Hopefully both sides calm down and peace and co-existence can be achieved.

The UK had a similar problem in Northern Ireland, and the US performed their form of 'ethnic cleansing' when they virtually wiped out the Native American Indians over ~100 years ago. Now we see the Chinese moving their massive population into these regions, and soon they will outnumber the locals.

Recipe for disaster? Not if China handles it right.

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There is plenty of blame to go around. The central government has been supressing langauges and customs of most of the minority groups for years. It should have been a peaceful protest, not a riot. But who knows what went down. Does sound a lot like the American west though. Just no reservations.

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