Police in western China have detained another 319 people suspected of being involved in deadly ethnic unrest between Muslim minority Uighurs and the dominant Han Chinese community last month, a state news agency said.
Police in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, said the detentions were made in the city and elsewhere in the far western region, based on information given by the public or obtained in investigations, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late Sunday.
The detentions were in addition to earlier announcements by the
government that more than 1,600 people have been detained over the
July 5 riots in Urumqi that started when police stopped a protest
by Turkic-speaking Uighur residents. The Uighurs smashed windows,
burned cars and attacked Han Chinese. Two days later, the Han took
to the streets and staged retaliatory attacks.
Xinhua said Urumqi police would not say how many - if any - of
the 1,600 detained earlier have been released, and that suspects
will face charges related to the July 5 riot.
The government says 197 people were killed and more than 1,700
were injured in the violence and that most of the victims were Han
Uighurs have complained about an influx of Han Chinese and
government restrictions on their Muslim religion. They accuse the
Han of discrimination and the Communist Party of trying to erase
their language and culture. Han Chinese, many of whom were
encouraged to emigrate to the region by the government, believe the
Uighurs should be grateful for Xinjiang's rapid economic
The report of the detentions came as an Internet message
purportedly from the leader of an Islamic group fighting Chinese
rule in Xinjiang urged Muslims worldwide to attack Chinese
interests in retaliation for what it called the oppression of the
The audio recording in the name of Sheik Abdul Haq al-Turkistani
was posted on the Internet on Sunday. Its authenticity could not be
"They (Chinese) must be attacked inside and outside," the
message said. "Their embassies, consulates and places where they
meet should be targeted to kill their men and capture them to
exchange them for our prisoners in Eastern Turkistan."
China has repeatedly blamed outside agitators and the influence
of the "three evil forces" - extremism, terrorism and separatism
- but have provided little evidence to support that contention.
Specifically, it has blamed exiled leading Uighur activist Rebiya
Kadeer for instigating the protests that led to violence when
police stepped in.
Kadeer said last week 10,000 Uighurs disappeared during the
recent crackdown, but a Chinese official called the figure