A major political protest has been reported in Urumchi, capital of East Turkestan (Central Asian nation occupied by communist China and re-named as Xinjiang) According to a number of sources, including a Chinese News Agency, thousands of Uyghurs took to the streets to protest against continuing suppression , human rights abuses and injustice as a result of Chinese rule.
Indulging in the same slanted reportage used to describe political demonstrations inside Tibet, the Chinese media was quick to present the protests as riots claiming that so-called rioters were “attacking passersby [sic]and setting fire to vehicles”. However according to a number of local Uyghur sources the demonstration was peaceful until Chinese securitry forces began to use excessively violent force.
Local people reported that armed security forces and troop carriers arrived on the scene, using tear gas and water canons, later firing volleys of shots above the demonstration. Around 300 people have been reportedly arrested and there are reports of a number of deaths and injuries, although no firm details have yet emerged.
A report in the LA Times featured a response from Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, “Under Chinese law, we should have the right for a peaceful protest again what the Chinese government is doing to our people” He considered the demonstration as the most serious incident of unrest in the East Turkestan capital city.
Videos uploaded onto the Internet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-EVRZEUyCM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvIIXuIcGj8 revealed thousands of protesters marching on the market. The scenes were reminiscent of events in Lhasa during March and April of 2008, as decades of anger by Tibetans erupted into pro-independence demonstrations The protests today were sparked in part as a result of the cold-blooded June 26 killing of two young Uyghur men at a factory in China’s Guangdong province. Uyghur sources reported that the men were beaten to death by a crazed mob, outraged by false rumors that they had sexually harassed Chinese-Han women.
The head of the Japan Uighur Association, Ilham Mahmut, informed the Times of India that
“At 5pm local time about 3,000 Uighur people gathered in Urumqi and demonstrated and about 1,000 Chinese police confronted them, and I heard that two Uighur people are already dead,” Mahmut said.
“The Chinese police tried to disband the demonstration and they used electric cattle prods and they fired guns into the air as warning shots. As we speak about 300 Uighur people have been already arrested and I’ve heard two people died because Chinese police used electric cattle prods.”