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2009 Xinjiang Riots


About 2009 Xinjiang Riots

At least 140 people are dead and over 816 injured when riots erupted in the Northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang's capital city of Urumqi on the afternoon of Sunday July 5, 2009. The clashes errupted between the Turkic-speaking Uighurs Muslim community and the dominant Han Chinese. China considers some members of the Uighurs community as 'violent separatists'. Internet connectivity to Urumqi region is disconnected. Government blames exiled separatists for the riots. Police are hunting for 90 rioters. Reports say that about 1000 Uighur ethnic group members are demonstrating against unfair treatment towards them by Han. Han Police are reported to have fired indiscriminantly at crowds when they found few protestors are armed with knives and other weapons. The crowds have pelted stones and have put vehicles on fire. State television showed scenes of people bleeding on the streets. All traffic to the city was blocked at 8:00 PM.

On Monday, July 06, 2009, China blamed an Uighur human rights advocate, Rebiya Kadeer, who was imprisoned in China and later moved to Washington as the person who provoked the clashes.

A day later, Chinese media said that as many as 1,434 people are arrested in the Xinjiang province and that the death toll is now 156 (129 men and 27 women). Liu Weimin from the Chinese embassy in London is reported to have said that the extreme forces have communicated intensively within and outside China before the cause of the unrest. Uighur group say that they are protesting peacefully and have become the victims of the state violence.

Two days after the protests, the death toll is put at 150 and injured reportees are put at 1000. The Communist Party Secretary of Urumqi Li Zhi said that more than a thousand people are detained.

On Tuesday, July 7, 2009, the Chinese Government deployed thousands of police and paramilitary personnel in a bid to contain the mounting tensions between the Uighurs Muslim and the Ham Chinese communities with tension between the groups escalating hinting of yet another possible largescale oturage. Han mobs are reported to be on streets with what ever weapons they can afford chaing provocative slogans such as 'blood for blood'.

It is Friday, July 10, 2009. Mosques in the region are closed but atleast 2 remained open drawing the crowds in the region. Protestors takes use of the end-of-prayer time to raise slogans but police are seen handling them and making sure the situation is calm and under control. Security forced have asked foreign media to stop reporting from the main mosque of the region - the Id Kah - citing security concerns. Curfew is in place even at night. The Government in China tells the media to stay away from the Silk Road City of Kashgar following safety concerns.

In July 09, Amnesty International urged China to conduct a fair and impartial investigation in Urumqi.

On October 12, 2009, a Chinese court has awarded death sentence to 6 rioters involved in the rioting activity.

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