More protests in Xinjiang

Chinese authorities have re-imposed a curfew in the city of Urumqi, Xinjiang, following new disturbances July 10. When authorities tried to close the White Mosque ahead of Friday prayers in the Uighur district which had been the center of last weekend’s violence, this only sparked an angry protest at the mosque’s gates. As the crowd rapidly swelled, the riot police who had been dispatched to secure the mosque finally relented and let prayers proceed—but not before arresting four foreign journalists. The curfew had been suspended for the past two days after officials said they had the city under control. State media now say the death toll in the weekend’s clashes has risen to 184. Of these deaths, authorities say 137 were Han, 46 were Uighur, and one was of the Hui ethnic group. (Radio New Zealand, July 11; AP, July 10)

The new protests came despite a vow by President Hu Jintao, speaking before the Politburo July 9, to “isolate and deal a blow to the small group” of rioters and to “unite and educate the majority” of Uighurs. He said the weekend’s unrest was a “serious violent crime elaborately planned and organized by ‘three forces’ at home and abroad”—an apparent reference to religious extremists, separatists and terrorists. (Reuters, July 9)

As more anti-China protests were held in several cities across Turkey July 10, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused the Chinese state of genocide against Uighurs in Xinjiang: “The incidents in China are, simply put, a genocide. There’s no point in interpreting this otherwise.” Trade and Industry Minister Nihat Ergun called for a boycott of Chinese goods. Some 5,000 demonstrated in solidarity with the Uighurs after Friday prayers in Istanbul, chanting “No to ethnic cleansing” and burning Chinese products. Large anti-China protests were also reported in The Hague and Canberra. (The Nation, Pakistan, July 11)

See our last posts on China and the Uighurs.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.