Photo by g_yulong
Those hoping that the Xinjiang riot death count would be contained once the day was over are going to be incredibly disappointed. It’s day two over there and it seems that, at least for the Han Chinese living there, the fear has given way to rage.
The Telegraph reports that nearly 10,000 people streamed down North Jifang road to try and hunt down local Uyghur Muslims, seeking revenge after hearing rumors that Uyghurs had broken into hospitals to kill patients – a little ironic considering yesterday’s protest was in part thanks to Han Chinese taking out revenge beatings-turned-killings over rumors.
Of course, the rumors of Uyghur misdeeds was just one of the reasons for the insane and angry Han crowds. It seems that many Han on the ground there do believe the Uyghurs were the ones that turned violent. And that’s at least somewhat true – even if they were provoked by police (a claim currently still in dispute), many rioters were specifically targeting Hans, which made up the majority of the victims.
As Melissa K. Chan of Al Jazeera tweeted earlier today, “There is no right or wrong anymore. Just vigilantes, Han and Uighur. Mostly men but some women and even children.”
We have been following her and Malcolm Moore of the Telegraph relaying his colleague, Peter Forster – as well as several others (Austin Ramzy of Time Magazine, some foreigners living in Urumqi) – on Twitter. A compilation of their tweets after the jump for those of you who can’t access the service in China.
AROUND 10AM TODAY
@melissakchan: Just to clarify: journalists can go off on our own. But, for example, riot police have surrounded hospitals. If you want to check injured-
@malcolmmoore: The openness of the govn’t may also have something to do with the victims being mostly Han, rather than Uighur.
@malcolmmoore: Victims in Urumqi had severe head injuries and stab wounds. Very few bullet wounds
AROUND 11AM TODAY
@melissakchan: Uighur women with babies and children; hundreds protesting and asking for release of husbands.
@melissakchan:Shot police are moving in the protesters are shouting, “Let them free.”
This incident, as reported by TIME:
Earlier in the day, the Chinese government efforts at media management backfired dramatically, as a large group of women besieged an official tour of visiting journalists to protest the arrests of their husbands, sons and brothers. Six buses full of foreign and Chinese reporters were taken to a neighborhood southeast of Urumqi’s Grand Bazaar to see an auto dealership that was burned by rioters Sunday.
As reporters interviewed residents of the area, a Uighur woman with two children stumbled past sobbing. The woman said she was bereft over the disappearance of her husband. Soon after, a dozen Uighur women emerged from a market, marching down a four-lane road and chanting slogans. The journalists and cameras followed, and soon the protesters — mostly women and children but some men as well — swelled to about 300 as Foreign Ministry minders stood aside, watching helplessly.
Several women said their family members had been detained in mass police arrests the previous day. “Free my husband! Free my husband!” a group of headscarf clad women cried. “He has heart disease,” one woman said of her arrested husband. “He didn’t go out yesterday or the day before, but still they took him.” The women estimated that thousands of men had been arrested. They dumped out plastic bags that held more than 100 pairs of footwear and trousers, which they say police forced the detainees to take off when they were arrested. Urumqi Party Secretary Li Zhi had said earler at a press conference that more than 1,000 people had been arrested, but they were all taken while actively rioting.
@melissakchan: The last we saw it looked as if the protesters were dispersing but armed police had guns not by their side, but in hand.
From @davesgonechina (Urumqi resident): Received forwarded text msg apparently going around Urumqi last night. Message follows with translation: “在市里开大会通报昨晚的打砸抢烧杀暴力事件800多人受访146人被杀害400多辆车5万多平米房被砸烧。 请况很危险，请大家少出门注意安全而且听说三天内还会反弹！而且今天晚上会有大搜捕肯定会有反抗！一定要小心，发给你关心的人” Citywide bulletin: Last nights (Sunday) riots saw over 800 injured, 146 dead, 400 cars and over 50,000 sq. m. looted & burned. The situation is very dangerous, everyone please do not go outside & mind your safety, but word is things will return to normal in 3 days. Tonight (Monday night) will be a massive series of arrests and no doubt resistance. Be careful – a concerned individual.”
@mranti: More reports say, dissatisfied with the lack of protection from police, Han Chinese start to defend themselves against rioters.
@malcolmmoore: Police are containing several thousand Han Chinese protesters with tear gas and roadblocks.
From Sky News reporting on the situation:
Thousands of Han Chinese protesters have taken to the streets and smashed shops owned by Uighurs, China’s less dominant ethnic group.
Police in China’s Urumqi city are repeatedly shooting tear gas to disperse the angry group who are armed with makeshift weapons.
But the demonstrators, some of whom carried meat cleavers, bricks, chains and bats, stayed put and washed the tear gas out of their eyes with water.
@malcolmmoore: Chinese crowd is waving red flags and chanting qian shou, hold your hands together
@malcolmmoore: There are now 10,000 armed Chinese protesters on the streets around People’s Square, and growing.
@melissakchan: A few hundred Han Chinese with sticks and knives have come down the road singing the national anthem.
@malcolmmoore: Weapon count from Urumqi: snooker cue, axes, machetes, baseball bats, metal scaffolding poles, cattle prods, and a plastic mop handle.
@malcolmmoore: Police not trying to disarm mob, just trying to calm them down. Mood is turning from excitement to uncomfortable.
@melissakchan: I asked a Han Chinese girl if she was scared. Yes. But this is to defend my country she says with stick in hand.
@mranti: Urumqi Party chief Li Zhi comes, appeals the mass to leave. RT @hanyonghong: 联合早报长晓中传来消息，乌鲁木齐市委书记栗智到现场，呼吁群众离去，相信政府能够妥善处理问题。
@malcolmmoore: Halfway through the speech, the crowd roared with one voice, turned in the opposite direction and started running
@malcolmoore: No 2 People’s Hospital was where the rumours of Uighurs breaking in and attacking patients started
@malcolmmoore: Hospital is surrounded by police line, firing tear gas at crowd
@malcolmmoore: Shit. Crowd now turning on Telegraph reporter and assistant. Anti-foreigner attack.
@austinramzy: Two police officers just escorted a Uighur woman with a baby in a stroller through a Han crowd with clubs by the People’s theater
@melissakchan: A Han Chinese man with a stick just tore open our car door to beat our producer. Averted just in time.
@malcolmmoore: Phew. Peter Foster, Telegraph man in Urumqi, and his assistant are fine. Cops protected them.
@melissakchan: It is dangerous to film around Han Chinese if you have blonde hair and white skin. They get angry… Equally bad if you’re a journalist who is Han-looking in Uighur neighborhoods. We all feel kind of stuck.
Martial law has now been imposed on the city. Internet access is cut off once again as a way to “prevent the riot from spreading.” Meanwhile, somebody has been throwing molotov cocktails at the Chinese consulate in the Netherlands. Great, because what this situation needs is MORE violence.
Some pretty disturbing pictures of the incident from the Chinese media (for strong stomachs only).