Ethnic tensions spark brawl at China factory

HONG KONG Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:23am BST

Related Topics

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ethnic clashes between Han Chinese and Uighur workers at a toy factory in China's southern Guangdong province killed two people and injured 118, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

In a massive night brawl at the "Early Light" toy factory in Guangdong's Shaoguan city, a group of Han Chinese fought with Uighurs from China's northwestern Xinjiang region who had been recently recruited to the factory, Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper reported.

The violence lasted until the early hours of Friday morning and at least 16 were seriously injured, the newspaper reported.

About 400 riot police had to be deployed to quell the unrest as the rival workers battled, some with knives and metal pipes. The violence was reportedly sparked by a spate of crimes at the factory following the arrival of around 600 Uighur workers in May this year, the newspaper said.

"Some people carrying metal pipes entered a dormitory to attack Uighur workers. But the Uighurs fought back with knives, leading to a fierce brawl involving hundreds," the newspaper said.

The factory was reportedly owned by Hong Kong tycoon Francis Choi, one of the city's leading toy manufacturers.

Xinjiang's majority Uighur population is a largely Muslim group with a culture close to other Turkic parts of central Asia.

Many Uighurs 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.

(Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

FILED UNDER: