The Chinese government
says the death toll from a police clash with ethnic Uighers late Sunday in the
Xinjiang autonomous region has risen to 140, and is still climbing.
television Monday was filled with images of violence and bloodshed on the
streets of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.
Official media say nearly
1,000 people were hurt or killed, and more than 200 shops and buildings, and 260
vehicles were burned.
The head of Xinjiang's Public Security Bureau, Liu
Yaohua, said minority Uighur protesters used an incident last month in Guangdong
province as an excuse to riot.
Liu says the incident - which involved a
clash last month between Uighur factory workers and Han Chinese in southern
China - was treated as a straightforward criminal case. Two Uighurs died in that
During Sunday's riots nearly 3,000 Uighurs protested last
China has accused the Uighurs of seeking independence for
Xinjiang, and says foreign groups fan the flames of separatism. Official Chinese
statements especially blame the World Uighur Congress, led by Rebiya Kadeer, a
Uighur businesswoman who spent years in jail in China and now lives in the
A foreign journalist in Urumqi described a heavy security
presence - with armored personnel carriers and water cannons out in force. The
journalist says the security presence is heavy in the southern part of town,
which is where the Uighur minority live. The journalist also says as of Monday,
security forces are still arresting people.
People in the Urumqi also
report Internet service was out Monday.
The World Uighur Congress in
Germany issued a statement condemning what it describes as Chinese security
forces' "brutal crackdown of a peaceful protest" by young Uighurs. The statement
quotes Uighur witnesses as saying scores of protesters were killed and dozens
were injured after authorities used lethal force to disperse the
The group also rejected China's accusation that it
"masterminded" Sunday's events.
Xinjiang is at China's western border.
Almost half of Xinjiang's 20-million people are Uighurs, who primarily are
Muslims. Many in the minority group resent controls imposed by Beijing and the
large influx of Han Chinese migrants into the region. The population of Urumqi
is mostly Han Chinese, and under normal times the city is under tight police