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“As far as we know, all the 1,400 people arrested so far are Uighurs,” he said.

Chinese officials have not provided an ethnic breakdown of those killed or arrested. Mr. Wang said the dead are being identified and the government will soon issue a list.

Mr. Seytoff expressed concern over Mr. Li’s promise to execute people.

“China’s judicial process is not transparent,” he said. “They will try to intimidate Uighurs by executing people just for participating in the protests. They will use this opportunity to try to teach Uighurs a lesson, just as they did to the Tibetans” after unrest in Tibet last year.

Roseann Rife, Amnesty Internationals deputy director for the Asia-Pacific region, called on the authorities in Urumqi to release those arrested “solely for peacefully expressing their views and exercising their freedom of expression, association and assembly.”

“A fair and thorough investigation must be launched resulting in fair trials that are in accordance with international standards without recourse to the death penalty,” she said.

Chinese officials accuse U.S.-based Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled Uighur businesswoman and political leader, of masterminding the unrest. She spent six years in detention in China until efforts by the Bush administration, Congress and rights groups helped secure her release in 2005.

“It is a basic fact that Rebiya Kadeer and her likes masterminded this rioting in Urumqi,” Mr. Wang said.

Chinese Embassy officials have briefed the State Department on the developments, and Mr. Wang said he hoped the United States now has “a better understanding of the violence that took place … and refrains from taking any action that may be made use of by Uighur separatist forces in the U.S. and in China.”

Ms. Richardson of Human Rights Watch said the Chinese government’s attempts to blame Mrs. Kadeer for the violence were similar to its efforts to pin the blame for last year’s unrest in Tibet on the Dalai Lama, the Tibetans’ exiled spiritual leader. “I think it’s a formula that Beijing has decided works and they find that it works particularly well with a domestic audience,” she said.

Walter Lohman, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, said the Chinese accusations are a way of ignoring the “real problem.”

Human rights groups say the Chinese government has trampled on the rights and religious freedoms of Uighurs, preventing them from praying at weddings, fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and even confiscating their passports so they cannot go on the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

The protests are seen as a consequence of such policies. “That they are going to be subjected to persecution because they protested is, at least from the Chinese political calculus, the only logical outcome,” Ms. Richardson said.

“Even had these protests not taken place, the Chinese government would have continued to use repressive policies in Xinjiang. This certainly gives them more of a pretext,” she added.

Reps. Bill Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat, and Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, urged Mrs. Clinton to unambiguously condemn the Chinese governments crackdown.

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