Thousands flee China's restive Urumqi

Chinese riot police arrested several Uighurs Friday after breaking up a small demonstration in Urumqi, the capital of China's western Xinjiang Province and the scene of a riot Sunday that killed 156 people and injured more than 1,000.

Authorities arranged extra bus services out of Urumqi after China's worst ethnic violence in decades, but demand outstripped supply Friday as thousands of people poured into bus and train stations to flee the violence-wracked city.

Still, Chinese police this week succeeded in averting a major interethnic bloodbath after initially failing to control Sunday's riot.

Similarly, on the Internet, over the airwaves, and in the written media, Chinese propaganda officials utilized new and more sophisticated tactics to overcome early impressions that the authorities were to blame for the carnage and to paint a more nuanced picture, Christian Science Monitor reports.

Authorities said they had put on extra bus services out of the capital of China's remote Xinjiang region, but demand outstripped seats and scalpers told AFP they were charging up to five times the normal face price for tickets.

"It is just too risky to stay here. We are scared of the violence," said Xu Qiugen, 23, a construction worker from central China who had been living in Urumqi for five years and had bought a bus ticket out with his wife.

Unrest began on Sunday when Muslim Uighurs, who have long complained about repression under Chinese rule, took to the streets in their thousands to protest, and security forces moved in to clamp down.