Ethnic-rioting deaths raise to 184 in China

China raised the death toll from riots in its Xinjiang region to 184, state media said Saturday, giving the first ethnic breakdown of the dead nearly a week after communal violence broke out in this far western city.

The official Xinhua News Agency said 137 victims were of the dominant Han ethnic group, 46 were Turkic Uighurs , and one was Hui Muslim, citing the regional government's information office.

Some Uighurs privately challenged those numbers Saturday after persistent rumors that security forces fired on Uighurs during their original protest and in following days, The Associated Press reports.

On Friday, Mosques in areas where severe violence took place were closed for security reasons, according to an official from the city's religious affairs bureau. At the White Mosque near a Uighur neighborhood that saw some of the worst violence Sunday, about 100 men argued with guards, demanding they be let in for prayers.

China's ruling Communist Party may fear that big Uighur religious gatherings could have become another catalyst for unrest after a week of ethnic strife. It wasn't known how many of the mosques were opened, informs Bloomberg.

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