“Beijing Rejects Death Claims”

What a surprise- the government claims that it totally didn’t kill those minorities! RFA reports:

Chinese authorities have dismissed reports of deaths in clashes last week between Hui Muslims and police over the demolition of a mosque in northwestern Ningxia region as Beijing came under rare criticism from a key global Islamic group over the violence.

According to a Hong Kong-based rights group, hundreds of Muslims in Ningxia’s Taoshan village clashed with police in a bid to prevent the demolition work, and the ensuing violence caused several deaths.

Hundreds of residents in Taoshan village confronted police armed with tear gas, truncheons and knives, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

An official who answered the phone at the Tongxin county government, which oversees Taoshan village, denied that any deaths had occurred, however.

“No, nobody died,” the official said in an interview on Tuesday.

The group said the violence between local Muslims and roughly 1,000 armed officers began after police declared a newly built mosque to be illegal, and moved in to demolish it.

One Taoshan resident told Reuters he was away at the time of the clash, but that his relatives in the town believed five people had been killed.

The resident, Jin Haitao, said villagers believed the dead included two elderly women, a young man and two people from nearby areas.

Residents of nearby areas complained that telephone links with Taoshan had been cut, making it impossible to verify what had happened.

Jin told Hong Kong’s Cable Television that local Hui Muslims had spent more than 8 million yuan (U.S. $1.27 million) on the mosque, only to have it torn down by the authorities.

“They told us that the mosque was illegal, and they said our gathering was an illegal activity,” Jin said.

“They beat us with police batons and bayonets, and the villagers gave no resistance.”

The violence drew rare criticism on Wednesday from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“The [OIC] spokesman expresses his deep concern over reports of a clash between local villagers and police resulting in numerous casualties and the destruction of a Mosque in Taoshan village … in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China,” the Saudi Arabia-based group said in a statement on its website.

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Filed under ethnic conflict, forced demolition, Islam

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