At least 200 Uyghur’s, armed with sticks, iron bars and stones began to protest today in front of cordons of policemen armed with rifles bayonet, surrounding a predominantly Han neighbourhood. A smaller group of Uyghur’s launched insults against a group of Chinese Han on the other side of the road.
Some Uyghur’s report that overnight despite the curfew imposed on the city, groups of Han Chinese attacked homes of Uyghur’s, beat people and burned a restaurant.
Yesterday, at the protest led by Uighur women and girls demanding the release of their loved ones arrested by police after the riots of July 5, were thousands of Han Chinese demanding justice. Armed with sticks with nails, iron bars, rods, hooks, they wanted revenge for the violence that some shops and people suffered three days ago.
On July 5 last, about 3 thousand Uyghur’s took to the streets of Urumqi protesting the deaths of two co workers in Guangdong. The event degenerated into violence, with police firing on the crowd and the demonstrators giving way to throwing stones and attacking Han-owned businesses. The toll from the clashes is 150 dead and more than 800 injured. The police made more than 1400 arrests, imposed a curfew, cut phone and internet lines.
What has been called the most violent clash in the last 20 years, at first seemed merely a conflict between the Uyghur’s - marginalized for decades from the political and economic life in Xinjiang - and the state. However, yesterday’s demonstrations of Chinese Han, showed the danger of interethnic clashes that threaten to overturn coexistence between minorities and Han Chinese throughout China, where the state appears unable to maintain order and ensure security .
Because of this, President Hu Jintao, in Italy to participate in the G8, cut his visit short overnight and left this morning from Pisa airport for Beijing. The Chinese delegation, led by Dai Bingguo, will remain in l'Aquila to follow the work of the international summit.
In recent years, Hu Jintao has always preached the ideal of "harmonious society" and coexistence between ethnic groups. Clashes in Urumqi flout his credibility.