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Monday, 6 July 2009

China: 140 Uighurs dead in revolt against Central Govt


URUMQI, China (Reuters) - At least 140 people have been killed in rioting in China's northwestern Xinjiang region, with the government blaming exiled separatists for the traditionally Muslim area's worst case of unrest in years.
Hundreds of people have been arrested, the official Xinhua news agency said, after protestors from the Uighur minority took to the streets of the regional capital on Sunday, burning and smashing vehicles and shops, and clashing with anti-riot police.
More in Yahoo.
Tensions between Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese are never far from the surface in Xinjiang, a sprawling region rich in minerals and oil that borders eight Central Asian nations. Many Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers) yearn for independence and some militants have waged a sporadic, violent separatist campaign.
Uighurs make up the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang, but not in the capital of Urumqi, which has attracted large numbers of Han Chinese migrants. The city of 2.3 million is now overwhelmingly Chinese — a source of frustration for native Uighurs who say they are being squeezed out.
Kakharman Khozamberdi — leader of a Uighur political movement in Kazakhstan, where the Uighur minority has its largest presence outside China — said machine gun fire was heard all night long. One witness told Khozamberdi 10 bodies were seen near a bazaar, including those of women and children.
In Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged China and any country with violent protests to use extreme care. He urged all government to "protect the life and safety of civilians."
Not even a mention to the another part of the problem: Uighurs are Muslims.

Xinhua quoted Liu Yaohua, a senior police official in Xinjiang, as saying that rioters had burned 261 vehicles, including 190 buses and two police cars, several of which were still ablaze as of Monday morning. Mr. Liu said the death toll of 140 "would still be climbing."
The casualty toll, if confirmed, would make this the deadliest outbreak of violence in China in many years.
At least 1,000 rioters took to the streets, throwing stones at the police and setting vehicles on fire. Plumes of smoke billowed into the sky, while police officers used fire hoses and batons to beat back rioters and detained Uighurs who appeared to be leading the protest, witnesses said.
The Associated Press reported Monday that protests had also spread to a second city, Kashgar, citing eyewitness accounts.

Scores killed in China protests - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Last news: 156 killed in the riots.

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