At Least 140 Dead in Ethnic Violence in Western China

At least 140 were killed today in Western China at after security forces cracked down on a protest in Urumqi.
Here’s video of the violence from China Television:

The AP reported:

Violent street battles killed at least 140 people and injured 828 others in the deadliest ethnic unrest to hit China’s volatile western Xinjiang region in decades, and officials said Monday the death toll was expected to rise.

Security forces have clamped down on the city of Urumqi and set up checkpoints to catch any fleeing rioters, state media reported, after tensions between ethnic Muslim Uighur people and China’s Han majority erupted into riots.

Rioters on Sunday overturned barricades, attacking vehicles and houses, and clashed violently with police, according to media and witness accounts. State television aired footage showing protesters attacking and kicking people on the ground. Other people, who appeared to be Han Chinese, sat dazed with blood pouring down their faces.

There was little immediate explanation for how so many people died. The government blamed Uighur exiles for stoking the unrest. Exile groups said the violence started only after police began violently cracking down on a peaceful protest.

About 1,000 to 3,000 people had gathered Sunday in the regional capital for the protest that apparently span out of control. Accounts differed over what happened, but the violence seemed to have started when the crowd of protesters refused to disperse.

The Wall Street Journal has more on the clashes.

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