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Earlier this month, riots broke out in Urumqi, the capital city of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in northwestern China, following the killing of two Uighurs at a factory in southern China. Thousands of Uighurs, an ethnic minority group that is Turkic and predominantly Muslim, clashed with Han civilians and Chinese police and troops.
Chinese officials report at least 192 people are dead, with more than 1700 others injured. More than 1400 have been arrested. In an effort to quell the violence in Urumqi, police used tear gas, water hoses, armored vehicles, and roadblocks.
According to U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley, “There is significant tension in that particular part of China":
"Historical grievances, fresh concerns about whether ethnic minorities in China receive adequate protection and have their rich culture, their language taken into account... .It is a challenge for China. As China grows in influence and responsibility in the world, it has to adapt its practices more in concert with international norms, and we would certainly encourage a dialogue going forward within China to try to resolve these in a peaceful way.”
The United States urges clam and restraint on all sides and urges China to deal with those arrested in connection with the unrest through fair and transparent judicial proceedings. The U.S. remains deeply concerned over the situation and continues to call on all parties to refrain from further violence.