Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 15:26 UK

Accounts of violence in Xinjiang

Han Chinese in Urumqi, 07/07
Crowds of Han Chinese and Uighurs were separated by riot police

As unrest continues in Xinjiang, people from the area and those with relatives there are continuing to send their accounts to the BBC.

Due to restricted means of communication, the BBC has been unable to speak to some of the people claiming to write from the region.

Accounts from Urumqi

Huang Xiusheng is a businessman from Guangdong who just went back home from a trip in Urumqi.

I witnessed the troubles. It was terrible!

There were many many people in the streets, mostly Uighurs, but also many foreigners. The foreigners were taking photos with their phones.

The group of Uighurs were very angry. They would attack anybody who crossed their way. I stayed outside for about half an hour and I got scared and went back to the hotel.

The next day I stayed in the hotel, as I was afraid to go out. I was looking from the window and I could see many people in the streets and a heavy army presence.

Just before I came back they announced that people should stay indoors, and traffic of cars and vehicles would be stopped. I don't know what to make of it. I am not a political person and I've no idea who caused it.

Peter is an English teacher living in Urumqi with his Chinese wife. They were out shopping on Sunday when the violence started.

The protesters' route was blocked by the police, not in a menacing way, just as if to make it clear that they could go no further. The protesters stopped about 30m away for a few minutes, and then without warning some of them came forward and started throwing rocks at the police.

The police tolerated this for maybe a couple of minutes, and when it became clear the throwing of stones wouldn't stop, they charged.

I have to say that the police dealt with the matter the same way our own riot police would. They were not excessively violent, nor did they attack unprovoked.

It was scary to watch all this kick off so close to where we were. Having managed to read your reports via my mobile phone (using services that are not blocked) I am amused that these overseas Chinese are trying to make political capital out of this, when, from what I witnessed, it was the protesters who brought this on themselves by attacking the police. Or maybe this was what they wanted all along?

Sharon from Beijing is currently on a business trip in Urumqi.

I arrived last night and all day today I've been staying in the hotel together with my other colleagues. Our team leader is not allowing us to go out because it looks very dangerous outside.

From the window of the hotel we can see a large group of Han Chinese all of them caring wooden sticks. They are all looking in one direction, waiting in anticipation.

We are watching TV reports and there was an announcement that they are restricting traffic in the streets from 9 pm to 8 am.

Ali says that the city of Urumqi has shut down.

The internet is down, there are no flights or trains in or out of the city. All schools, offices and organisations are closed until further notice.

The state media is covering up the truth, no reporting has actually happened. The state media is only showing a few Han Chinese beaten up, but they are not showing the police killing protesters.

The protest was peaceful from the beginning, but then the police started firing at protesters. As a result the protesters got angry and that's how the violence began.

Where are the people killed in the protests and who are they? Why use armed force to suppress the protest in Urumqi and not use the same force when the incident at the toy factory in Guangdong happened?

Accounts from outside Xinjiang

Lee, from the Xinjiang city of Yining, is from the Hui Muslim minority. He now living in Beijing, but he is in touch with his parents who still live in Yining.

My parents own a restaurant. When I spoke to them they said that the government has ordered all businesses to close until further notice. So they closed the restaurant, waiting to hear further instructions.

Residents were also advised to stay at home. Riot police and PLA (People's Liberation Army) are everywhere on the streets.

Everywhere there are lists of wanted people's names. We don't know who they are, but probably suspected Uighurs responsible for the riots in Urumqi.

I am pleased with the way the government has handled this unrest and I think they have covered the event truthfully.

Gulmire, a Uighur from Urumqi, writes on behalf of her sister who still lives in the city.

When I spoke to my sister on the phone she said that around 10pm the previous evening there were many students gathered near a park close to where my sister lives.

The police were chasing them and when they couldn't escape, they shot at them. One by one the students fell to the ground. There was a lot of blood. My sister was upset and was crying. It's a dark day for all Uighurs.

Terry, a Han Chinese from Urumqi, now working in Shanghai, has been in regular contact with his family and friends back home.

After many attempts, I managed to get through to them on the phone. My parents say that there are many people on the streets. There are more protests, shops are being robbed, buildings being set on fire and innocent people attacked.

All of this is still happening. A friend of my friend got hurt on Sunday after being hit by a rock.

In order to protect themselves, Han Chinese people are now carrying wooden batons.

I've got Uighur friends, and they are in a difficult situation. Many of the ordinary Uighur people don't agree with the protesters and they know that this riot was planned by the extremist groups to destroy the peace in Urumqi.

My parents told me that a shop owned by a Uighur was robbed and the owner was injured.

The protesters make me so angry. The economic situation in Xinjiang is getting better and better. These criminals must be punished for their crime against humanity!

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific