The death toll in the ethnic clashes between minority Uighurs and members of Han community in China's Xinjiang province has risen to 156 even as over 1,400 people were arrested for the violence, authorities said early 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 Tuesday morning.
The police have arrested 1,434 suspects in connection with the riots that took place in Urumqi on Sunday.
Li Yi said the suspects include 1,379 men and 55 women.
"The police have started interrogations with the suspects," said Li.
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 Uighur workers in a brawl in a toy factory in Guangdong province June 26.
More than 20,000 armed police, special police, firefighters and troops have been sent to Urumqi to quell the unrest.
The rioters 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 Uighur 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 Uighur Congress quoted witnesses as saying scores of Uighurs were shot or beaten to death by police. The group claimed more than 800 deaths.