The death toll in the ethnic clashes between minority Uyghurs and members of Han community in northwestern China's Xinjiang province has risen to 156, authorities said early on Tuesday.
The dead include 129 men and 27 women, Li Yi, head of the publicity department of Xinjiang regional committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said on Tuesday morning.
More than 1,000 people were also injured in the riots that began Sunday evening in Urumqi, the provincial capital, following a protest rally by Uighurs. They were demonstrating against the death of two Uygur workers in a brawl in a toy factory in Guangdong province June 26.
Police have conducted raids in several places and arrested several hundreds of rioters, Li added.
The rioters have smashed or set ablaze several vehicles, shops and public properties during the two days of violence, which the provincial government said was masterminded by the World Uyghur Congress, a banned Muslim separatist group in the region.
The outfit is led by Rebiya Kadeer, a former businesswoman, who was detained in 1999 on charges of harming national security. She was released on bail in March 2005 to seek medical treatment in the US.
"The violence is a pre-empted and organised crime. It is instigated and directed from abroad, and carried out by outlaws in the country," a government statement said early on Monday.
Meanwhile, the US-based Uyghur Congress quoted witnesses as saying scores of Uyghurs were shot or beaten to death by police. The group claimed more than 800 deaths.