Tue, Jul 14, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Police kill two Uighurs in Urumqi

LAWYERS WARNED The Bureau for Legal Affairs has cautioned law firms about cases involving the violence in Xinjiang, saying national unity must be protected

REUTERS AND AP , URUMQI AND BEIJING, CHINA

Indonesian Muslim activists protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Jakarta yesterday condemning the Chinese government over recent killings in Xinjiang.

PHOTO: AP

Chinese police shot dead two people yesterday in renewed unrest in Xinjiang, state media said, after at least 184 people died in riots last week.

Xinhua news agency said the two people killed in the regional capital Urumqi were Uighur. Police were trying to stop them attacking another Uighur when the security forces opened fire, the report said. Another Uighur was injured.

“An initial investigation found that the three people were attacking the fourth person with clubs and knives at 2:55pm near the People’s Hospital at Jiefang Nanlu,” Xinhua said. “Police on patrol fired warning shots before shooting at the three suspects.”

Photos taken at the time show one policeman raising his rifle to strike a man. Beaten, the man in a blue shirt with blood on his right leg lay on the ground. Police formed a ring around him, pointing their guns up at surrounding buildings.

One witness, Zhang Ming, a construction worker at a building site near the incident, said he saw three men with knives come out of a mosque and attack a group of paramilitary police standing in a cluster along the road. Riot police then chased them, beat them and fired shots, he said.

Earlier yesterday, state media said protests against Chinese consulates in Europe and the US showed that ethnic riots in Xinjiang on July 5 were orchestrated.

Demonstrators threw eggs, Molotov cocktails and stones at several Chinese embassies and consulates, including in Ankara, Oslo, Munich and the Netherlands, Xinhua said.

“Supporters of the East Turkestan separatists started well orchestrated and sometimes violent attacks on Chinese embassies and consulates in several countries soon after the riots occurred,” Xinhua said.

“The attacks against China’s diplomatic missions and the Urumqi riots seemed to be well organized,” it said.

In a sign the government is not going to relax its grip in Urumqi anytime soon, Xinhua said police will take in for questioning anyone who cannot produce an indentity card or driving license.

Meanwhile, Beijing is warning lawyers away from cases involving the recent ethnic violence in Xinjiang, saying it is important to protect the country’s unity.

The Bureau for Legal Affairs of Beijing said the violence that started on July 5 in Urumqi was “a typical beating, smashing, looting and burning incident” by unnamed forces outside and inside the country.

“The purpose is to destroy ethnic unity, incite ethnic conflict and destroy the peaceful and united social situation,” the bureau said in a notice posted late last week on its Web site. “The bureau is asking that all the city’s lawyers and law firms clearly recognize the nature of this incident and firmly stand by the position of protecting the unity of the country.”

While it did not expressly ban lawyers from taking on cases, the notice urged caution while answering inquiries about legal advice.

Law firms should report such cases immediately and “positively accept monitoring and guidance from legal authorities and lawyers’ associations,” the bureau said.

The notice also banned lawyers from making comments to the media or on the Internet.

“This is a bold abuse of the legal profession,” said Li Fangping (李方平), a lawyer who has regularly been targeted for representing politically sensitive clients. “Lawyers accept cases based on their professional judgment. Now, administrative measures are being imposed on us. This is a big step backward for China’s legal industry.”

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