Riots in Urumqi
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Translation of Adam’s post, photos by Flickr users Keirn and Remko Tanis (CC-usage), video by YouTube user 0ETAA0 (CC-usage).
Mass ethnic riots have taken place in Chinese Xinjiang Uighur Autonomour Region (XUAR). 156 people have been killed and 1080 wounded in Urumqi during massacre. Hundreds of vehicles and stores were burnt, and dozens of dwelling houses damaged. The government accuses foreign terrorists of inflicting the riots, and nearly 1,500 people have been already arrested. All communications and access to XUAR are blocked.
The mass disorders started [ru] after two Uyghur workers were murdered. The details of this crime are unknown, but it is known that they were killed in the fight with Han Chinese. The marchers claimed for investigation of this incident, but soon the protest turned into unrest, which, allegedly, has been suppressed by officials with the use of fire guns. For the next few years Xinjiang is likely to get the title of the most rebellious province of P.R.C., observers say.
In his post Megakhuimyak expressed his pragmatic opinion about the situation [ru]:
Whether Kazakhstan needs calm, trouble-free and well-developing Xinjiang? No. In this scenario Xinjiang would take over economic leadership in the region.
Whether Kazakhstan needs rebellious, independent XUAR – or East Turkestan? No. In this case such new neighbor would diminish the investment attractiveness of the region, economic links would be torn, and it would lead to insecurity in Kazakhstan too.
What situation in XUAR would be preferable for Kazakhstan? It would like to neighbor with the province that is developing regularly, but shaken with sporadic disorders, as in this case China would have to make concession in exchange for Kazakhstan’s neutrality and for taking care of Uyghur community in Kazakhstan.
Tensions with ethnic minorities, among whome there are Kazakhs too, remain in place, although they are mostly latent. The remarkable fact is that a few weeks prior to the riots, activists from the Kazakh ethnic community living in XUAR wrote an open letter [ru] to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, where they asked “to pay more attention to the national issues of Kazakhs living abroad” and to help diaspora “in resolving the urgent issues of Kazakhs in China”.