In the deadliest communal riots in China in three decades, at least 140 people were killed and 828 injured in its strategic northwest region bordering India where protesters from the ethnic Muslim Uygur community clashed with Han Chinese, prompting a massive police crackdown.
"While 57 people were confirmed dead on the scene of the clash, others succumbed to their injuries at a hospital," a
spokesman of the regional government told newsmen about last night's orgy of violence in Urumqi, the capital of oil-rich Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which accounts for a sixth of China's territory.
He said the death toll "would still be climbing". "It was like a war zone here, with many bodies of ethnic Han people lying on the road," said Huang Yabo, Deputy Director of the Urumqi police.
Rioters burnt 261 vehicles, including 190 buses, 10 taxis and two police cars. Over 200 shops and homes were
destroyed in the riots.
The riots in Urumqi, a sprawling city of 2.3 million, some 3,270 kms west of Beijing, followed a recent protest
against the government's handling of a clash between Han Chinese and Uygur workers at a toy factory in Shaoguan city in southern China's booming Guangdong Province in June where two Uygur workers had died.