Han Chinese Protest to Demand Ouster of Xinjiang Leader

September 4, 2009 12:41 am Last Updated: September 4, 2009 12:41 am

Thousands of Han Chinese took the center stage in a protest in Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang region on September 3. They demanded that the ruling Communist Party’s leader step down because their streets remain unsafe, according to a report by France Press Agency.

Central News Agency also reported that fear has spread among Urumqi residents after multiple incidents of hypodermic needle attacks occurring on the streets. As a results, thousands of Han Chinese gathered in several locations to condemn the local government’s incompetence and protest against the worsening security condition and social unrest in Urumqi.

Officials in Xinjiang say the hypodermic needle attacks all took place in public places in Urumqi, and victims included members of nine ethnic groups, including Han Chinese, Uighur, Kazakh, and Mongolian, but they did not disclose the number of victims. Some media, however, reported that there were about 400 victims, while others reported over 1,000 victims.

The state’s Xinhua News Agency reported that 21 suspects had been arrested. Yet, the hypodermic needle attacks continue in the city. Police have not revealed the suspects’ ethnicities. Authorities emphasized that thus far the victims showed no signs of infection or being poisoned, and no one has been hospitalized or died.

Reports also say that all major roads and highways into Urumqi were closed and telecommunications in Urumqi were interrupted on September 3.

An appellant from Xinjiang who was in Beijing told The Epoch Times that she had heard about the protest, but she was not clear about what had happened. She thought the protest was a major event. She also said that ethnic minorities are not the only group that resents party leader Wang Lequan; Han Chinese also resent him.

Tension has continued since July’s deadly clashes between Uighurs and police in Urumqi. Official statistics claimed the unrest resulted in 197 deaths, 1,600 wounded, and 1,500 arrests. These statistics have yet to be confirmed by independent sources. It was also reported that Han Chinese have since sought revenge on Uighurs. It remains unclear whether the hypodermic needle attacks are linked to the ethnic tension in Xinjiang.

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