CAIRO — World countries and organizations condemned on Tuesday, July 7, China’s deadly crackdown and excessive use of force against Muslim Uighurs, insisting that China must address the root causes for problems in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region.
"The great number of casualties among civilians indicates that the principle of proportionality of the use of force and fire arms was not observed," the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) said in a statement.

At least 156 people died and more than 1,000 people injured on Sunday in Urumqi, capital of China's autonomous Muslim-majority Xinjiang region.

The authorities crack downed on Uighurs who took to the streets to protest discrimination as well as cultural and religious controls.

Several human rights groups have expressed concern over the fate of 1,434 people who were taken into police custody, saying they could be tortured or mistreated.

Many have blamed China for the heavy death toll, saying the protests were peaceful until security forces over-reacted and fired indiscriminately on crowds.

"According to international basic principle on the use of force and fire arms, law enforcement officials should resort to non-lethal methods in confronting civilian riots," the umbrella grouping of 57 Muslim countries said.

The United Nations also lamented the high death toll.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, insisted it was "extraordinarily high number" for people to be killed and injured in less than a day of protests.

"This is a major tragedy," she said in a statement.

"I urge Uighur and Han civic leaders and the Chinese authorities at all levels, to exercise great restraint so as not to spark further violence and loss of life."

Thousands of armed Han Chinese stormed through at least four neighborhoods of Urumqi on Tuesday, threatening violence Muslim Uighurs.

"We are deeply concerned over reports of many deaths and injuries from violence in Urumqi in western China," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement issued in Moscow, where US President Barack Obama was on an official visit.

"We call on all in Xinjiang to exercise restraint."

Root causes
The OIC insisted that Beijing must do more to bring justice to Xinjiang.

"The Secretary General called upon the Government of China to carry out prompt, effective and transparent investigation of this grave incident and bring those responsible to quick justice and to take all possible measures to prevent its recurrence."

The Muslim umbrella organization also called on Beijing to address the root causes of the problem.

"The Islamic world is expecting from China, a major and responsible power in the world arena with historical friendly relations with the Muslim world, to deal with the problem of Muslim minority in China in broader perspective that tackles the root-causes of the problem," said the statement.

"The OIC is ready to extend assistance and to consult with the Chinese Government about efforts to create a climate of peace and stability in the region."

Xinjiang and its Uighur Muslims, a Turkish-speaking minority of more than eight million, continue to be the subject of massive security crackdowns.

Muslims accuses the government of settling millions of ethnic Han in their territory with the ultimate goal of obliterating its identity and culture.

They also cite a recent government plan that has brought the teaching of Mandarin Chinese in Xinjiang schools, replacing their local dialect.

Beijing views the vast region as an invaluable asset because of its crucial strategic location near Central Asia and its large oil and gas reserves.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to raise the issue with Chinese President Hu Jintao during the upcoming G8 summit.

"I would like to underline that we hope for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Everything needs to be done to contain the violence on the ground that has already happened," she said.

"We support the one China principle. That is clear. But it must also be possible to guarantee the rights of minorities."