Riots in China Leave Hundreds Dead

Wall Street Journal:
The death toll in riots in China's northwestern Xinjiang region rose sharply Monday, with state media saying that 156 people had been killed in what appears to be one of the deadliest episodes of unrest in China in decades.

Police said at least 828 other people were injured in violence that began Sunday in Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital. Witnesses said the conflicts pitted security forces against demonstrators, and members of the region's Turkic-speaking Uighur ethnic group against members of the country's Han Chinese majority. Many among the predominantly Muslim Uighurs have chafed at Chinese government rule.

...Uighur activists said hundreds of Uighurs, many of them students, had gathered Sunday to protest racial discrimination and call for government action against the perpetrators of an attack last month on Uighur migrant workers at a toy factory in southern China. In that incident, a group of Han Chinese broke into a factory dormitory housing Uighur workers. State media reported that two people were killed. Uighur groups say the death toll may have been higher.

The protests appear to have spun out of control late Sunday, with clashes between protestors and police as well as ethnic violence around the city.

...Uighurs have long complained about restrictions on their civil liberties and religious practices imposed by a Chinese government fearful of political dissent in strategically important Xinjiang, which covers one-sixth of China's territory and is also an important oil-and-gas-producing region.
Sounds a lot like last year's uprising in Tibet, which was also a result of heavy-handed Chinese government intervention in an ethnic minority region. (Also reminiscent of the 2007 uprising in Myanmar/Burma, which was the result of similar oppressions.) I am by no means an expert on this subject, so I leave it to those more informed to provide context and commentary in comments.

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