BEIJING, July 10 (RIA Novosti) - A Chinese state newspaper has accused rebels linked to this week's riots in the Xinjiang province of deceiving foreign media by providing misleading photos.
The China Daily said exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer and her supporters supplied photos purportedly showing the recent deadly clashes in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, but actually taken on a different occasion.
The paper published an image of Kadeer taken during her interview with the Qatar-based network Al Jazeera, in which she is shown holding a photo allegedly demonstrating "how the peaceful protesters in Urumqi were treated by the police." The China Daily said, however, that the image was published by the Nanfang Weekly website on June 26, more than a week before the riots, and was taken in the central Chinese province of Hubei.
At least 156 people have been killed and over 1,000 injured in clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese in the Xinjang capital, Urumqi. The violence started on Sunday when a group of protesters gathered to demand an investigation into the death of two ethnic Uighurs during a fight with Han Chinese workers in late June.
The China Daily said Kadeer's supporters in Turkey, who picketed the Chinese Embassy in Ankara, used similar propaganda tactics.
In one of the pictures issued by the Uyghur American Association, a protestor is shown holding an enlarged photo of the "victims of the violence of the riot in Urumqi," which is was in fact taken after a road accident, the paper said.
Chinese state media have also accused the World Uyghur Congress of providing false information on the number of the fatalities. The Organization says over 800 people were killed in Urumqi clashes, well above the official death toll of 156. In addition, Kadeer says over 100 people died during clashes with police in another Xinjiang city Kashgar, while Chinese authorities maintain the rally was dispersed by police and no violence occurred.
According to official media reports, the situation in Urumqi is gradually returning to normal, but the city is still being patrolled by police and military. On Friday Urumqi authorities ordered the closure of the city's main mosques "for security reasons," and urged locals to hold their prayers at home, the Xinhua news agency reported.