Tales from the Chinese Riots

Heartbreaking profiles of two families, in The Washington Post and The New York Times Thursday, offer rare, detailed, personal accounts of the Urumqi riots that have left 156 dead and many hundreds more wounded. The New York Times looks at a Han family whose son, Lu Huakun, 25, was brutally killed by Uighur rioters. Han Chinese have been encouraged by the Chinese government to settle in the Uighur-majority area, but the sudden influx has led to protests from Uighurs who say the government is trying to systematically eliminate their culture. "There was a calling by the government to develop the west," Lu's father told the Times. "This place would be nothing without the Han." Meanwhile, The Washington Post looks at ethnic minorities in Urumqi who have been trapped between two sides. Ye Erkeng, a Kazakh man married to a Uighur woman, said that he and his family had been forced to hide inside his apartment for days with little food and water while rioters destroyed Uighur-owned businesses outside: "I thought, 'If they rush into the house, we will all die.'" He is among many who are leaving the city out of fear of further violence.