12 Jul 2009

China puts Xinjiang riot death toll at 184

5:59 am on 12 July 2009

The official death toll from ethnic rioting in far western China has risen to 184 - three quarters of whom were reportedly Han Chinese.

China's official Xinhua news agency says 137 of those killed in the Xinjiang region - 111 men and 26 women - were Han Chinese, who form the majority of China's population.

Forty-six were said to be Uighurs, a Turkic people who are largely Muslim and make up almost half Xinjiang's 20 million people.

Last weekend, demonstrations in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, by Uighurs protesting against the treatment of Uighur workers turned deadly after police moved in.

Human Rights Watch says the government has since deployed some 20,000 troops in Urumqi. The BBC says a curfew has been reimposed and mosques in the city were ordered to stay closed - though at least two opened at the request of crowds of Muslim Uighurs that gathered outside.