Chinese govt kill 140; injure 800 activists?

July 6th, 2009 in Breaking News
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URUMQI, China (Reuters) – At least 140 people have been killed in rioting in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region, with the government blaming exiled separatists for the traditionally Muslim area’s worst case of unrest in years.

Hundreds of people have been arrested, the official Xinhua news agency said, after protestors from the Uighur minority took to the streets of the regional capital on Sunday, burning and smashing vehicles and shops, and clashing with anti-riot police.

The death toll from the riot in Urumqi, 3,270 km (2,050 miles) west of Beijing, was 140 on Monday and expected to rise further, with over 800 people injured, Xinhua quoted Xinjiang police chief Liu Yaohua saying.

“These incidents reflect the complete failure of government policies in ethnic minority areas, although there is no justification for the violence,” said Nicholas Bequelin at Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong.

“People who go out to demonstrate on the streets of Urumqi know that the retribution will be terrible. For people to go out and do that when they know the consequences is a sign that they are desperate to find an outlet for their grievances.”