Chinese state media say the government in the western region of
Xinjiang has declared a curfew following ethnic unrest that has
paralyzed the main city of Urumqi.
China's top official in Urumqi, Communist party leader Li Zhi, said
Tuesday authorities also are blocking Internet and mobile phone service
in parts of the city in order to prevent further unrest.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said "foreign forces" are using those services to instigate violence.
Both officials specifically blamed U.S.-based Uighur exile Rebiya
Kadeer for masterminding Sunday's rioting that left at least 156 people
In further unrest Tuesday, Muslim Uighursand Han Chinese faced off with riot police in separate incidents.
Police first confronted about hundreds of mostly female Uighur
protesters, who said members of their families had been arbitrarily
arrested, after Sunday's riots.
Later in the day, riot police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of
Han Chinese protesters who took to the streets armed with makeshift
weapons, including clubs, shovels and knives.
The crowd smashed shops and food stands operated by Uighurs. Communist
Party chief Li Zhi arrived on the scene, where he condemned Rebiya
Kadeer in a speech to the crowd.
There were also reports that Uighur protests were held in the city of Kashgar, near Xinjiang's border with Pakistan.
The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay,
urged Chinese authorities and ethnic groups in Xinjiang to refrain from
Tensions between Han and Uighurs came to a head last month, after a
false rumor spread throughout a toy factory in Guangdong that Uighur
workers raped two Chinese girls. A huge fight broke out, and two people
The official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday that police have arrested
15 people in connection with the racially-charged brawl, including two
suspected of spreading rumors on the Internet.
State-run media said police have arrested 1,434 suspects in the deadly
ethnic clashes, which injured more than 1,000 people on Sunday.
As with last year's protests in neighboring Tibet, Chinese state media coverage has focused on ethnic Han victims.
Uighur groups say the violence is a result of pent-up frustration with
what the mainly Muslim Uighurs say is excessive control over their
lives by Han Chinese -- China's majority ethnic group.
Uighur dissident Wu'er Kaixi, who was one of the student leaders of the
1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, told reporters Tuesday that
Uighurs face widespread suppression and discrimination in China.