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China Increases Police Presence on Xinjiang


Chinese armored personnel carriers and trucks loaded with riot police are patrolling the streets of Urumqi, trying to bring calm to the city after deadly riots.

Some residents in the capital of Xinjiang province tell news agencies they are afraid to leave their homes because of the unrest. Others mourned the dead or looked for missing relatives.

Saturday's show of force by Chinese troops comes as officials raised the death toll in the western region to 184. Officials say 137 where from China's dominant Han ethnic group, and that most of the others were minority Uighur Muslims.

The clashes began July 5 when Uighurs attacked Han Chinese. Han Chinese took to the streets two days later seeking revenge against Uighurs.

Officials say at least 1,434 people have been arrested.

Uighur groups abroad say hundreds of Uighur Muslims were killed in the clashes, which involved riot police. One U.S. congressman said the number of dead is close to 500.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called the violence against Uighurs in Xinjiang "genocide" and said the Chinese government should not remain a bystander.

Congressmen William Delahunt and fellow Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Friday urged the United States to condemn China's crackdown on Uighur Muslims.

They also asked Beijing not to seek the death penalty for those engaged in peaceful dissent.

Chinese officials have blamed the violence on what they call separatist and terrorist groups at home and abroad, specifically naming Washington-based Uighur activist Rabiya Kadeer.

Kadeer, who joined the two congressmen Friday, told reporters she is against violence and did not have a role in fueling the Urumqi riots.

The Uighurs, a mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people who make up nearly half of Xinjiang's population of 20 million, have complained for years of being marginalized due to the influx of Han Chinese into the province.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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