Article published on the 2009-07-06 Latest update 2009-07-06 18:00 TU
Both Italy and Great Britain have expressed concern about the reports of violence. China's leader had begun a visit of Italy ahead of the G8 industrial power summit later this week, and Italian president Giorgio Napolitano said he had raised the subject of human rights with China's president Hu Jintao.
Ban Ki-moon called for the the protection of the life and safety of the civilian population, properties, freedom of speech, assembly and information.
The riots began in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang. Police have been clamping down on protesters, and curfews have been imposed. Furthermore, authorities have shut down the internet and curbed mobile phone services in a bid to restrict communications.
Yiyi Lu, a Research Fellow at Nottingham University said the causes of the clashes could be found in earlier disturbances. "Not very long ago there was a clash between Uighur workers and Han workers in Guangdong province, which is very far from Xinjiang province," she said.
"A few hundred Uighurs were found jobs in the coastal province of Guangdong but then they had a clash with the local Han population. Interestingly, the government's response toward this kind of protest in recent years has been more responsive in terms of adressing the demands of the protesters."
Beijing has blamed the attacks on exiled Uighurs who they believe are encouraging Chinese Uighurs to attack the Chinese Han population.
The Xinjiang region has around 8.3 million Uighurs who are Muslim and speak Turkish. They believe the Chinese government is repressing them for political and religious reasons under the guise of fighting terrorism.
Scores killed in Xinjiang riots
2009-06-03 09:55 TU