East Turkestan: China To Begin Trials on Urumqi Clashes
China is likely to begin trials this week over "deadly riots in Xinjiang" last month [July 2009], with hundreds facing "murder, arson and other charges", the official China Daily said on Monday [24 August 2009].
East Turkistan was occupied by the communist China in 1949 and its name was changed to "Xinjiang" in 1955. The communist China has been excersizing a colonial rule over the East Turkistan since then.
China blames Uyghurs on deaths of 197 people in a police crakdown after the protests.
China officially raised the death toll to 197 in police crackdown, but accepted to kill only 12 Uyghurs.
More than 200 people have been formally arrested in connection with "ethnic rioting" on July 5  and trials are expected to start this week, the China Daily reported, citing an unnamed prosecutor in Urumqi, the regional capital of Uyghur region.
Video appeared showing Chinese lynch that sparked Uyghur protests. Exiled Uyghur leaders said the protests were peaceful until security forces over-reacted with deadly force.
The Urumqi court did not respond to a phone call from Reuters.
Earlier this month [August 2009], authorities said 83 people had been formally arrested for the protests.
World Uyghur Congress said that near 800 Uyghurs were killed during a week-violence after Han Chineses attacks and following intervention of China forces.
"A drastic increase in security is expected in the whole city (of Urumqi) in response to an expected mass gathering of Han and Uyghur people awaiting the court verdicts," the report said, citing an unnamed police source.
The suspects face charges including "murder, arson, robbery, vandalism and "organising crowds to disrupt public order," said the report. It did not specify how many may be tried this week.
Uyghur independence advocates say that China, which is preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on Oct. 1, is deliberately drawing Han Chinese into the region to stifle Uyghur influence.
Many Uyghurs resent Han Chinese rule, complaining they're marginalised economically and politically in their own land, while having to tolerate a rising influx of Han Chinese migrants.
Meanwhile, human rights groups accuse Beijing of using claims of "terrorism" as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uyghur identity.
East Turkistan, that has 8 million Uyghurs, borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is a largest natural gas-producing region, claimed by China.