Troops Poured In.
The Times reports:
“Thousands of Chinese troops poured into the restive city of Urumqi early today in a massive show of force, as President Hu Jintao cut short a visit to Italy for the G8 summit to deal with the outbreak of ethnic violence.
Along one road ringing the capital of the western region of Xianjiang where 156 people died in riots on Sunday, The Times counted more than 30 paramilitary trucks, each followed by about two dozen men, many in black body armour, and most carrying riot shields, batons and fire arms.
The convoys included several white armoured personnel carriers accompanied by tear gas vans, all with paramilitaries standing ready to open fire if necessary. They were preceded by land cruisers, their sirens wailing as they moved almost at a walking pace through the town. ”
Reuters has more analysis:
“SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese President Hu Jintao abandoned plans to attend a G8 summit in Italy on Wednesday, returning home early to deal with ethnic violence that has left at least 156 dead in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.
More than 1,000 people have been injured and 1,434 arrested in unrest between Han Chinese and Muslim Uighurs since Sunday in Urumqi, capital of the energy-rich region which borders Central Asia and Pakistan.
Here are some scenarios at how current tensions may play out: “
Update: AVPS has more information:
“Racist clash at Guangdong factory
The protest was held to demand answers from officialdom over an incident in Guangdong, southern China, on 26 June. A horrendous communal (ethnic) clash between Han Chinese and Uighur migrant workers at a toy factory in the city of Shaoguan resulted in two Uighurs being killed (although there are reports the number could be higher) and 118 injured from both ethnic groups. The incident was started by a Han Chinese worker who had lost his job at Early Light, a private company, that until recently employed over 50,000 workers in southern China. Rather than blaming the boss – Hong Kong’s ‘toy billionaire’ Francis Choi – this worker vented his anger on the 600 Uighur workers brought to the province as cheap labour (even cheaper than Han). This worker, who has since been arrested, circulated a false story on the internet claiming six Uighur men had raped two Han women at the factory. Gangs of Han workers attacked the Uighur dormitories with knives and metal bars and the Uighurs defended themselves with the same means – a bloodbath ensued.
This incident is highly symptomatic of processes in China, as tensions reach breaking point over unemployment (at a post-1949 record), pay cuts (200m migrants have been pitched into a new ‘race to the bottom’ competing for fewer and fewer factory jobs) and official corruption that penetrates almost every sphere of human activity. With all protest channels closed down and workers’ self-organisation outlawed, anger against the state is rising but so too is racism, crime, drug abuse, suicide, and other expressions of hopelessness. As a footnote on the Shaoguan incident, Choi, the billionaire toymaker, is officially worth US$1 billion and boasts a mansion with over 30 sports cars in its car park. The minimum wage set by Shaoguan’s government, which is the norm for most migrant workers, is just 500 yuan a month (approximately US$73). Such are the extremes of the ‘two Chinas’ today: A migrant worker would have to work for 261 years, not spending one fen (cent) of his wage, in order to buy one of Mr Choi’s Ferraris; yet such abysmally low wages are being fought over sometimes with tragic and bloody consequences.
The outbreak of street fighting in Ürümqi represents a ‘feedback loop’ from the clashes in Guangdong. Reports have circulated that police also took part in attacking the Uighur workers in Shaoguan, that several Uighurs despite being victims were among those arrested, and there are rumours that the mobile phones of Uighurs in Shaoguan had been confiscated to prevent them speaking out. Angered by these reports, and suspicious of another official cover up, a crowd of Uighurs went to the streets of Ürümqi to demand answers and protest against what is obvious discriminatory treatment.”