URUMQI, China, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Chinese authorities say 718 people have been detained in the deadly July 5 Urumqi riots but the figures appeared at odds with previously reported numbers.
The latest numbers were reported Tuesday by the official Xinhua news agency. However, The New York Times said it was not clear whether the 718 is the total number arrested since the July 5 riots in the capital of northwest Xinjiang-Uighur region, or is in addition to the previous numbers of more than 1,500 arrests.
The Xinhua report, noting 197 people died and more than 1,600 were injured in the riots, quoted Urumqi Police Chief Chen Zhuangwei on the 718 detentions. No other details about previous arrests appeared in the report.
In an Aug. 7 report, Xinhua said police had arrested 1,434 suspects. Since then several hundred more had been reported arrested. It was not clear how many have since been released.
The New York Times said it was also not clear how many of the suspects have been charged with crimes.
The Times quoted Omar Kanat, vice president of the World Uighur Congress, an exile group in Washington, as saying the Chinese reports are understated and the 718 arrests are in addition to the previous figures.
"Many people are calling us every day, and they say the number of arrests exceeds five, six thousand," Kanat told the Times. "We cannot confirm that. But we know that the numbers of arrests are much more than the Chinese figures."