View Full Version : China president hurries home from G8 after rioting

07-07-09, 23:25
China president hurries home from G8 after rioting

1 hr 9 mins ago

* Ethnic riots spread in China Slideshow:Ethnic riots spread in China
* At least 150 dead in Chinese ethnic violence Play Video Video:At least 150 dead in Chinese ethnic violence AP
* Uighur women demand release of detained relatives Play Video Video:Uighur women demand release of detained relatives AFP

A Han Chinese man carries a spiked steel bar while using his cell phone to take AP – A Han Chinese man carries a spiked steel bar while using his cell phone to take photos as he joins a …
By WILLIAM FOREMAN, Associated Press Writer William Foreman, Associated Press Writer –

URUMQI, China – Sobbing Muslim women scuffled with riot police, and Chinese men wielding steel pipes and meat cleavers rampaged through the streets as ethnic tensions worsened in China's oil-rich Xinjiang territory, prompting President Hu Jintao to cut short a G8 summit trip Wednesday.

The new violence in Xinjiang's capital erupted Tuesday only a few hours after the city's top officials told reporters the streets in Urumqi were returning to normal following a riot that killed 156 people Sunday. The officials said more than 1,000 suspects had been rounded up since the spasm of attacks by Muslim Uighurs against Han Chinese, the ethnic majority.

In a rare move, Hu cut short a trip to Italy to take part in a Group of Eight meeting later Wednesday to travel home to deal with the outbreak of violence, the Foreign Ministry said on its Web site.

The chaos returned Tuesday when hundreds of young Han men seeking revenge began gathering on sidewalks with kitchen knives, clubs, shovels and wooden poles. They spent most of the afternoon marching through the streets, smashing windows of Muslim restaurants and trying to push past police cordons protecting minority neighborhoods. Riot police successfully fought them back with volleys of tear gas and a massive show of force.

Uighurs have said this week's rioting was triggered by the June 25 deaths of Uighur factory workers killed in a brawl in the southern Chinese city of Shaoguan. State-run media have said two workers died, but many Uighurs believe more were killed and said the incident was an example of how little the government cared about them.

There was a heavy security presence in Urumqi on Wednesday morning after an overnight curfew in the city of 2.3 million was lifted. Two helicopters flew over the city watching the scene.

The ugly scenes over the last several days highlight how far away the Communist Party is from one of its top goals: Creating a "harmonious society." The unrest was also an embarrassment for the Chinese leadership, which is getting ready to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Communist rule and wants to show it has created a stable country.

But harmony has been hard to achieve in Xinjiang, a rugged region three times the size of Texas with deserts, mountains and the promise of huge oil and natural gas reserves. Xinjiang is also the homeland for 9 million Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers), a Turkic-speaking group.

Many Uighurs believe the Han Chinese, who have flooded into the region in recent years, are trying to crowd them out. They often accuse the Han of prejudice and waging campaigns to restrict their religion and culture.

The Han Chinese allege the Uighurs are backward and ungrateful for all the economic development and modernization the Han have brought to Xinjiang. They also complain that the Uighurs' religion — a moderate form of Sunni Islam — keeps them from blending into Chinese society, which is officially communist and largely secular.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called the violence a "major tragedy" and said all sides should "exercise great restraint so as not to spark further violence and loss of life."

The authorities have been trying to control the unrest by blocking the Internet, including social networking sites such as Facebook, and limiting access to texting services on cell phones. At the same time, police have generally been allowing foreign media to cover the tensions.

In a sign the government was trying to address communal grievances after the factory brawl in southern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday that 13 people had been arrested, including three from Xinjiang. Two others were arrested for spreading rumors on the Internet that Xinjiang employees had raped two female workers, the report said, citing a local police official.

Chinese officials dismiss claims that the Urumqi rioting was caused by long-simmering resentments among the Uighurs. They said the crowds were stirred up by U.S.-exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer and her overseas followers, who used the Internet to spread rumors.

"Using violence, making rumors, and distorting facts are what cowards do because they are afraid to see social stability and ethnic solidarity in Xinjiang," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing during a blistering verbal attack on Kadeer. She has denied the allegations.

In Washington, D.C., Kadeer accused China of inciting the ethnic violence, saying peaceful Uighur demonstrators have been targeted as part of the continuing repression in the region by the Chinese government.

"I'm not responsible," Kadeer, president of the Uyghur American Association said, during a rally. "The Chinese authorities instigated the violence."

07-07-09, 23:45
Hundreds dead and wounded in China uprising

By Aileen McCabe, Asia Correspondent, Canwest News ServiceJuly 6, 2009Be the first to post a comment

A local man watches Chinese soldiers wearing riot gear march in formation as they patrol the streets of Urumqi, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, in China Monday. At least 140 people have been killed in rioting in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, with the government blaming exiled separatists for the Muslim area's worst case of unrest in years.

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A local man watches Chinese soldiers wearing riot gear march in formation as they patrol the streets of Urumqi, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, in China Monday. At least 140 people have been killed in rioting in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, with the government blaming exiled separatists for the Muslim area's worst case of unrest in years.
Photograph by: David Gray, Reuters

SHANGHAI — Heavy police and military presence ensured all was quiet in Urumqi on Monday night following ethnic riots that left 156 people dead and at least 800 wounded in the Xinjiang region, home to China's restive Muslim population.

Urumqi, the capital of the region in China's far west, was under a tight lockdown with police, paramilitary and military units keeping the lid on emotions that had overflowed into the streets Sunday night and early Monday morning, precipitating the worst ethnic violence witnessed in China in more than 40 years.

On Tuesday, Chinese police had arrested more than 1,400 suspects in connection with rioting, state media said.

The video of the demonstrations and riots around the Erdaoqiao Market that were shown on state television and YouTube pictured more than 1,000 Uyghur protesters setting out on a peaceful march but running into riot squads and ending up burning and trashing stores and upsetting police cars.

The 156-person death toll released by government officials appears to include only members of the majority Han Chinese population. The World Uyghur Congress said in a release that "scores of Uyghur protesters were (also) killed and dozens were injured after security forces used lethal force to disperse the peaceful protesters and to stop the spread of this peaceful protest."

The violence that began Sunday had reportedly spread to a second city, Kashgar, on Monday. About 200 people attempting to gather at the Id Kah mosque in Kashgar were dispersed by police.

The last major bout of ethnic turmoil on the mainland, the demonstrations and riots by Tibetans in Lhasa ahead of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, claimed fewer than 20 lives, according to government figures.

The Urumqi demonstration was apparently sparked by an incident in southern China late in June when at least two Uyghurs were killed during a brawl in the toy factory where they worked. In the official version of the story, they were accused by Han Chinese co-workers of raping two Han women, but on Uyghur websites the talk is of a far wider ethnic clash and there are claims that 26 Uyghurs were killed in the melee.

Video of the event circulating on YouTube is both graphic and bloody and seems to show a mob beating a single young man, perhaps to death. Whatever the truth, the World Uyghur Congress claimed in a statement about the incident:

"During the racist mob attack, the Chinese government failed to protect the Uyghurs from violent perpetrators."

The incident fanned resentment in oil rich Xinjiang, where the eight million strong Uyghur population have long-complained about the iron-fisted treatment they have received at the hands of China's central government.

The Urumqi riots were the worst ethnic trouble in the region since 1997 when, about 600 kilometres west in Yining, several weeks of clashes spurred by the separatist sentiment in the air as the Soviet Union began to crumble, left scores of Uyghurs dead — some say 70 to 80, but others claim far higher numbers.

The Beijing government does not trust the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs and just as it blamed outside Tibetan agitators — "the Dali clique" — for the pre-Olympic troubles in Lhasa, officials immediately charged "separatist" Uyghur groups based outside China with masterminding Sunday's violence.

Official television network, CCTV, said Rebiya Kadeer, head of the World Uyghur Congress, orchestrated the riots from exile in the United States. In a statement Monday, Kadeer said: "It is a common practice of the Chinese to accuse me for any unrest in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) and his Holiness the Dalai Lama for any unrest in Tibet."

For most of Monday, the Chinese media was freely reporting the troubles in Urumqi, but by late in the day Internet sources began to be blocked by government censors. Twitter, which was carrying pictures from the riots, disappeared and across the Chinese web pictures and videos of the incident were scrubbed away.

In Xinjiang, the whole Internet was blocked, limiting communications in and out of the desert region.

The Chinese government is sensitive about this kind of mass disturbance, not because it is concerned the Uyghurs might win sympathy inside China, quite the opposite. Beijing is confident it can count on the Han majority to condemn the Uyghur "separatists," just as they did the Tibetans, but it is worried that the outside world will be more willing to listen to their side of the story.

"We are deeply concerned over reports of many deaths and injuries from violence in Urumqi in western China," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday. "Reports so far are unclear about the circumstance surrounding the deaths and injuries, so it would be premature to comment or speculate further."

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said the Government of Canada is "alarmed at reports of violence and high numbers of casualties."

"We urge restraint on all sides and call on the Government of China to respect freedom of speech and information and the right to peaceful protest. Dialogue and goodwill are required to help resolve grievances and prevent further deterioration of the situation.

"Freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law are values fundamental to Canada's foreign policy.

Cannon said the embassy in Beijing is monitoring the situation closely, but there have been no reports of Canadians in the affected area.

with files from Reuters

07-07-09, 23:51
The first article above says that among the 158 people who died during the 5 July demonstration, 20 were Han Chinese. Then second article says that the photos shown on Chinese media the dead people appear to be mainly Han Chinese. That means the Chinese government has deliberately choosen to show only died (20) Han Chinese photos on the media while hiding other nearly 130 Uyghurs' death away from the public eyes.

It is hard to know how many Uyghurs have died afterward.