Countering Riots, China Snatches Hundreds From Their Homes (with Video)
“It was horrible for everyone,” said Leitipa Yusufajan, 40, who spent the night cowering at the back of her grocery store with her 10-year-old daughter. “The rioters were not from here. Our people would not behave so brutally.”
But to security officials, the neighborhood has long been a haven for those bent on violently cleaving Xinjiang, a northwest region, from China. Last year, during a raid on an apartment, the authorities fatally shot two men they said were part of a terrorist group making homemade explosives. Last Monday, police officers killed two men and wounded a third, the authorities said, after the men tried to attack officers on patrol.
“This is not a safe place,” said Mao Daqing, the local police chief.
Local residents disagree, saying the neighborhood is made up of poor but law-abiding people, most of them farmers who came to Urumqi seeking a slice of the city’s prosperity. Interviews with two dozen people showed vehement condemnation of the rioters. “Those people are nothing but human trash,” one man said, spitting on the ground.
See also an Al Jazeera report on relations between Han Chinese and Uighurs: