Security forces are maintaining a tight grip on the Chinese town of Urumqi after days of ethnic violence in which more than 150 people have been killed.
Paramilitary police are keeping the Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese communities apart. There have been signs of life returning to normal, but tension remains high. More than 1,400 people have been arrested. Members of the Han community are angry. One man said: “The Uighurs killed 150 of our people and the police didn’t interfere, but now they are arresting Han Chinese.” The violence follows years of tension in the Xinjiang region. Many Uighurs resent Beijing’s rule and feel threatened by an influx of Han Chinese from the east. They say they suffer severe discrimination. There are calls for an independent Uighur state. The Chinese government says exiled Uighurs are stoking the unrest. One Uighur woman said she was worried about the fate of her husband. “I don’t know where my husband is. Many people are missing. No-one knows where they are.” Many Uighurs are leaving Urumqi in fear. On Tuesday, Han Chinese took to the streets with weapons to wreak vengeance after Sunday’s unrest. The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, has called on the two communities to unite. He left the G8 meeting in Italy to deal with the crisis, saying that regaining stability in Xinjiang was a priority. Regional officials have said they will seek the death penalty for those found guilty of killings during the riots.