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Uighur-Canadians protest in Vancouver



Source: CBC news


Posted: 07/08/09 10:07PM
Filed Under: Canada

Demonstrators rallied outside the Chinese consulate in Vancouver Wednesday to take a stand against the government crackdown against ethnic Uighurs in northwestern China.

Approximately 80 Uighur-Canadians gathered outside the building on West Broadway Street to voice their anger over the violence being directed at Uighurs, an ethnically Turkic predominately Muslim minority, in the city of Urumqi in Xinjiang province.

Uighurs have historically been the majority in the province, which borders Central Asia and Mongolia, although they are a minority in the rest of China, where the Han ethnic group predominates.

At least 156 people have died since Sunday in ethnic violence between Uighurs and Han Chinese, whom the government has encouraged to migrate to Xinjiang over the last 50 years, increasing their population so that today, there are almost as many Han as Uighur in the province.

More than 1,000 people have been wounded and another 1,400 arrested in the clashes.

The protests started when demonstrators gathered to demand justice for two Uighurs killed in June during a fight with their Han co-workers at a factory in southern China.

Ann, a Uighur-Canadian living in Vancouver, said the violence stems from the failure of the Chinese government to respond to violence against the community.

"But the regional government ignored their demand," said Ann, who did not want her last name published. "They failed to do their job. That is why people are angry."

Since the government crackdown, Ann said she has not been able to contact her family.

"They cut off all the telephone communication systems," she said. "Everyone has been sitting at the phone every day, two or three hours, [and] we cannot get a line through."
 
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