The Xinjiang autonomous region in China’s north-west is home to some 8 million Turkic-speaking Uighur Muslims, and is a bubbling pot of civil unrest at the best of times. But on Sunday night, tensions boiled over, with violence erupting between police and Uighur protesters in the province’s capital of Urumqi, with many Han Chinese bystanders reportedly caught up in the conflict.

The official death toll currently sits at 156 with more than 800 injured, though Uighur groups are claiming it is significantly higher.

As always with these sorts of stories from China, the accuracy of reports are difficult to discern, given the high level of governmental control over the media, in addition to the Internet being blocked throughout the region. The Chinese claim the violence was masterminded by Uighur exile Rebiya Kadeer, while Uighers are claiming police surrounded and violently suppressed a peaceful protest.

As the blame games continue, here is what the world’s media is saying about the event that has been labeled the worst violence the country has faced since the Tiananmen Square:

Riots in China: Home truths. This is mob violence at its worst and cannot be condoned, all the more so since many of the victims appear to have been civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time. But neither can such an eruption be blamed exclusively on separatist organisations such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, although these too do exist. — Guardian

Beijing is unwise to play with fire. China’s bloodiest crackdown on protesters for 20 years reveals a government that is still more comfortable suppressing the symptoms of the country’s ethnic tensions than finding policies to solve the problems they cause. — Financial Times

The repressive reality behind China’s modern mask. Despite two decades of rapid economic development and an unprecedented opening up to the rest of the world, China has confirmed that it remains a repressive autocracy intolerant of cultural diversity within its borders and prepared to use extreme force against its own people. — The Independent

Rebiya Kadeer, once a Chinese success story . When I first met Rebiya Kadeer in 1998 she was a slim, dignified woman surrounded by fawning Chinese officials eager to hang on the coattails of the most successful Uighur entrepreneur in the country … She has now been accused of being the mastermind behind the latest violence in her native region. — The Times

What if the Uighurs were Christian rather than Muslim? Just imagine if the Uighurs were a Christian — rather than Muslim — minority, battling against the tyrannical Communist regime in Beijing, resisting various types of persecution, and demanding religious freedom. They would be lionized by America’s Right. — Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Control 2.0. A striking feature of the riots unfolding in the far-western province of Xinjiang this week is that the Chinese press is actively reporting on them … It is a remarkable contrast with the posture of the Chinese press three or four years ago, when Chinese authorities punished editors who covered acts of unrest that might suggest social tension in the countryside. — Letter from China, The New Yorker

Buddhist protests and Muslim riots. I’ve been struck — in the early days of this protest — how restrained and comparatively unsympathetic the foreign press coverage of the Uigher uprising has been in light of the highly sympathetic reporting on the Tibetan uprising last year. — Adam Minter, Shanghai Scrap