Police established a curfew Tuesday, as 20,000 security forces roamed the streets. Internet connections have also been cut to prevent the violence from 'spreading.'
In the aftermath of violence on Sunday that left 156 people dead and more than 1,000 injured according to official figures, Uighur and Han mobs roamed the streets of Urumqi armed with cleavers, clubs, and sticks, beating up passers-by, according to reports from the city.
Some 20,000 security forces blanketed Urumqi Tuesday, using tear gas to disperse rival crowds and prevent further bloodshed, as up to 1,000 young Han men sought out Uighurs and looted their property. It was unclear whether anyone had died in the assaults. (Getting Uighurs to talk was impossible, and even Chinese scholars have been unwilling to speak with foreign reporters about the situation.)
"It is needed for the overall situation," he said in a televised announcement. "I hope people pay great attention and act immediately."
In one incident, riot police used baton charges and tear gas to keep enraged, rock-throwing crowds of Uighurs and Han Chinese apart. Hundreds of other policemen spent the afternoon preventing a mob from reaching a predominantly Uighur quarter of the city.
Why Uighurs resent Han Chinese
The violence has underscored the depth of intercommunal resentments in the far western province of Xinjiang, where the indigenous Uighur people say Han Chinese take the best jobs and the most powerful political positions while treating them as second-class citizens.