August 14, 2009

Police refute Rebiya's claim of '100 deaths in Kashgar'

Police in Kashgar, in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Thursday denied claims by Rebiya Kadeer, the separatist World Uyghur Congress leader, that police had killed more than 100 Uygurs while breaking up mass demonstrations in the city.
In a response to the deadly violence that began in the region Sunday, a statement by Kadeer was published in U.S. media on July 8. In it, she said, "Kashgar has been the worst effected of these cities and unconfirmed reports state that over 100 Uygurs have been killed there.
"Troops have entered Kashgar, and sources in the city say that two Chinese soldiers have been posted to each Uyghur house."
However, the public security bureau of Kashgar, 1,600 km southwest of Urumqi, the regional capital of northwestern Xinjiang, issued a written statement to Xinhua, denying the allegations.
The statement said more than 200 people tried to gather at the Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China, and created a "disturbance" there at about 5:15 p.m. on Monday.
Local security forces and armed police rushed to the scene, "using vehicles mounted with loudspeakers to disperse the masses who were ignorant of facts" surrounding the previous day's violence in Urumqi, the statement said.
"They reacted immediately to round up troublemakers and quell the incident."
The crowd was dispersed by police at about 6 p.m. with "no deaths or injuries," the police said.
Xinhua reporters saw most of the shops in Kashgar were closed on July 7. A few restaurants run by Uygur people were open at about 10 p.m., normally a busy time. Few people were in the streets.
No military police or anti-riot vehicles were seen in the streets. Some police vehicles passing by reminded people to ignore rumors.
At a basketball court outside the Kashgar Stadium, a group of teenagers played basketball. Sedan cars, pickups and taxis went by occasionally. Taxi drivers waiting for fares chatted while cleaning their cars outside hotels.
Some foreign tourists, in twos and threes, bargained with vendors or took pictures of children playing in the street in Kashgar.
In a riot Sunday evening in Urumqi, at least 156 people died and more than 1,000 were injured, said Li Yi, head of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xinjiang regional committee.

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