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Uyghurs Rising

Jul 07, 2009
By Lindsey Schneider


 Uyghurs in China
Uyghur protests clash with paramilitary forces in Urumqi. Photo courtesy of Newscom

Since Sunday night, bloody clashes between the Muslim Uyghurs and Han Chinese have been breaking out in the Xinjiang province in China. As FLYP reported last August, the region has experienced continual ethnic violence between the 8.4 million Uyghurs and the Han, who make up a 91-percent majority in the country.

According to the New York Times, Hans rioted today in the streets of Urumqi, trying to make their way toward the Uyghur sections as they encounter paramilitary forces. The state news agency reports that a total of 156 people have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded in the rioting so far.

The deadliest riots on record since the Cultural Revolution of the 1970s, the current bloodshed is a reminder of the persistent racial hostility in Western China. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Uyghurs’ protest is driven by economic disparity, religious intolerance and efforts to force integration into Han society. A curfew has been set for the region, and all cell phone and Internet service has been shut down.

 Uyghurs in China
Over 1,400 people have been arrested so far in Uyghur protests in Xinjiang province. Photo courtesy of Newscom


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