Monday, July 06, 2009

China protests: 140 dead

Horrendous news that protests in northern China have seen a massive wave of violence with more than 140 people killed and hundreds more arrested.

The protests broke out in Xinjiang after a court ruling on protests earlier in the year when two Uighurs were killed in racist attacks. Uighur activists (like those recently released to Barbados from Guantanamo) have long complained of state racism and it seems that the call for a proper inquiry into how the two protesters were killed had not been met, sparking the current protests.

The Chinese authorities have come in hard, although whether the deaths were caused by state repression or ethnic violence seems unclear at the moment, certainly there seems to be some of both - either way it's very bad news. The riots even spread to Holland where Dutch police arrested around 60 protesters after a demonstration started throwing stones at the Chinese embassy.

Ruling officials claim that Uighur nationalists or separatists constitute a real terrorist threat (one of the reasons that the Uighurs could not be sent home to China) but whether that's credible or not I can't say. The FT has written that the natural gas and oil reserves have heightened tensions in the region whilst making the area of particular significance to the authorities.

The local police chief has stated that 828 people were injured and that rioters burned 261 motor vehicles, including 190 buses, at least 10 taxis and two police cars. 203 shops and 14 homes were also destroyed.


Kaihsu Tai said...

You said: "one of the reasons that the Uighurs could not be sent home to China". I suppose you mean the Uighurs detained in Guantanamo camps by the USA. To explain more fully: If they were sent to China, they would most likely be tortured and/or face the death penalty, so the USA did not send them there. And due to pressures from the Chinese government, few other countries would be prepared to take them. They end up being sent to Palau. The Chinese government is now blaming the protests on the World Uyghur Congress.

Kaihsu Tai said...

Further, the protests seemed to have been triggered by treatment of Uighurs at the town of Shaoguan, on the coast and almost as far as you can get on the same continent. Use this as an indicator of the reporting from the media.

Jim Jay said...

I did Kaihsu - sorry if it wasn't very clear - thanks for this.