Police killed 400 Uighurs in the capital of China’s Xinjiang region during ethnic unrest there, exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer wrote in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal Asia, while AFP reporters witnessed two attacks on Uighur men yesterday.
Kadeer said Uighur sources within “East Turkestan,” the name Uighurs use for the northwest region, had told her 400 Uighurs had died “as a result of police shootings and beatings” in Urumqi since violence erupted there on Sunday.
The president of the World Uighur Congress said that unrest was spreading across the region and that unconfirmed reports also indicated more than 100 Uighurs had been killed in Kashgar, another major city in Xinjiang.
Chinese authorities have said 156 people died in Sunday’s violence in Urumqi. They have not made clear how many of the victims were Han Chinese and how many were Uighur, or how they died.
China has blamed Kadeer for instigating the violence, which she strongly denies.
In the Wall Street Journal Asia, Kadeer expressed concerns about the security sweep that Chinese authorities have said has already led to the arrests of 1,434 suspects.
“Uighurs have contacted me to report that the Chinese authorities are in the process of conducting a house-to-house search of Uighur homes and are arresting male Uighurs,” she wrote. “They say that Uighurs are afraid to walk the streets in the capital of their homeland.”
Sunday’s protest by Muslim Uighurs was sparked by a brawl between Uighurs and Han Chinese workers at a toy factory in southern China last month, which left two Uighurs dead, according to official figures.
Kadeer said the protest against the authorities’ response to the initial incident was peaceful and should not have descended into violence.
“I unequivocally condemn the use of violence by Uighurs during the demonstration as much as I do China’s use of excessive force against protestors,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, AFP reporters witnessed two attacks yesterday.
Three Muslim Uighur men heard the chants of a baying mob and began running for their lives.
“Get them! Strike! Strike! Strike!” dozens of Han Chinese screamed as they began chasing the trio.
Two of the men escaped.
One was not so lucky and for 30 terrifying seconds he lay on the ground as about six people kicked him repeatedly, while dozens of Han Chinese looked on yelling encouragement to the attackers.
Police soon moved in to end the attack, but not before one woman with permed hair who looked in her 30s managed to kick the helpless man.
As police pushed the crowd away but made no attempt to arrest the assailants, the Uighur man lay on the ground with his face bloodied and in visible agony.
The attack was one of two by Han Chinese against Uighur men in China’s restive Urumqi city that AFP reporters witnessed yesterday.
The mob assaults came despite a massive show of force by Chinese military and police in Urumqi following riots on Sunday.