China cuts internet to quell ethnic riots
Snipping 'overseas opposition forces'
China has blocked internet access in parts of Urumqi - the capital of the northwestern Xinjiang province - after violent clashes between the minority Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese reportedly left 156 dead and more than 1,000 injured.
"We cut Internet connection in some areas of Urumqi in order to quench the riot quickly and prevent violence from spreading to other places," Li Zhi, Communist Party of China chief of Urumqi told the state-run media outlet Xinhua.
He did not say when internet services would resume, but claimed Chinese authorities have evidence that Uyghur political activist Rebiya Kadeer was using the internet to "mastermind" the Sunday riot. The former millionaire businesswoman, now exiled to the US, has denied involvement in the riots and condemned the reported violent actions.
"These accusations are completely false. I did not organize the protests or call on people to demonstrate," she said in a press conference in Washington on Monday.
State media claims the deaths occurred when Uighurs protesters "took to the streets with knives, wooden batons, bricks and stones" on Sunday afternoon.
"The unrest was preempted, organized violent crime. It is instigated and directed from abroad, and carried out by outlaws in the country," the government said in a released statement early Monday.
Uighur leaders, meanwhile, say the riots started after Chinese police attacked a peaceful protest.
Ethnic tension apparently sparked into violence after two Uygur workers were killed and dozens injured during a brawl last month at a toy factory nearly 3,000 miles from Urumqi. According to the Wall Street Journal, trouble began when rumors began spreading that Uighur migrant workers had raped a Han Chinese woman. The allegations were spread online throughout the Han community, although never proved.
State media claims the brawl was used by overseas opposition forces to instigate further unrest and undermine the social stability in the autonomous region of China.
Police say they have arrested 1,434 suspects in connection with Sunday evening's riot and have begun interrogation. Authorities have also declared a traffic curfew in the regional capital from 9pm and 8am as a further measure to quell escalating violence. ®
@The Real Instigators
You are yourself spreading rumors.
In western countries, such as the riot happened in Los Angelas, USA, those who claimed to be "peaceful" but in fact hurt or even killed innocent civilians will be punished, because they break the law.
One sided story telling is the basis of rumors, just like what you did.
Let the violent stop first, anything contributing to the escalation of violent is a crime against all human beings!
The Real Instigators
First, some Han Chinese people started a false rumor about Uighurs raping a Chinese girl. This led to some innocent Uighurs being beat up in a factory. This led to a peaceful protest demonstration by some Uighurs.
Then, the Chinese authorities went in and brutally suppressed the demonstration. This is what sparked the violence. So instead of blaming organizations of Uighurs in the West who are trying to call attention to the plight of the Uighur people, the Chinese leadership should look in the mirror.
@An Excellent Response
"A year ago there was an incident where a Hui minority taxi driver hit a Han girl. The Han villagers beat up a bunch of Hui people,"
So the Han villagers don't trust the authorities to prosecute the taxi driver and want to take matters into their own hands? And your fix is to perform a cover up?
And when the LA riots happened in the 90's it was because the video was clear as day and yet the officers were let off. Would you cover up the distribution of the video? Yet the response was to fix the problem, the officers were prosecuted and the riots stopped.
"If the government didn't control the internet in this particular instance, then the Xinjiang minority people living around China would be killed as information and mis-information buzzes around the country."
The Chinese authorities version of events on TV are not trusted. This is normal, they lie a lot and cover up a lot, hence they are not believed. The solution for them is to lie less and cover up less, then their view will be trusted more.
You say that "They read things as facts much more easily, hence the fake fact of the rape leading to a bunch of Han men killing two Xinjiang minority people in Guangdong"
As you are fully aware, Uighur's are treated badly, and the subsequent killing of 154 by the authorities is proof of that. They will now no doubt hide the bodies and try to sweep it under the carpet, but until they fix the problem it will not go away. The brawl is just a symptom of a problem and the cover up fixes nothing.
China needs to reform.