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China's Urumqi Returning to Normal, Following Bloody Violence


The situation is relatively calm in Urumqi, the capital of China's Xinjiang region, days after bloody violence there left more than 150 people dead.

For many people in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi, life is slowly returning to normal.

Alison Klayman is a reporter there.

"The scene today was definitely people getting back to regular life," Klayman told VOA. "There were many shopkeepers who were opening their stores and people going back to work, for the first time since Sunday."

A demonstration in Urumqi on Sunday turned violent and deadly, after mostly minority Uighur Muslim protesters clashed with Chinese security forces.

Chinese authorities have rounded up more than 1,400 people on suspicion of involvement in what they are calling an organized, premeditated and severe criminal act of violence. Authorities say they will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law - including capital punishment for the most serious perpetrators.

The Chinese government also has blamed foreign forces for organizing the violence from afar and calls Uighur businesswoman Rebiya Kadeer, who lives in exile in the United States, the top "mastermind."

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang rejected Turkey's concerns that the issue should be discussed in the United Nations Security Council.

Qin says there is no reason for the Security Council to discuss events in Xinjiang because they are entirely China's internal affair.

Instead, he urged the international community to support the Chinese government's efforts to safeguard national unity, ethnic solidarity and social stability.

Klayman says Chinese troops are out in force in Urumqi, to help restore calm.

"There's still a very large military presence, especially in Uighur areas, like the bazaar area, in the south of the city," Klayman said. "Buses and trucks with troops surround that whole area, groups of troops running around, making their presence very conspicuous. They are shouting slogans, 'Protect the people. Protect the country. Save the society.'"

The clashes in Xinjiang have largely been between the Han Chinese majority and the Uighur minority, a Turkic group that shares similarities with peoples in Central Asia.

The Uighurs make up nearly half of Xinjiang's 20 million people. They accuse the Chinese of discrimination and repression. The Chinese government accuses them of seeking an independence for Xinjiang.

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