Biden Asked To Respond To Deadly Fire

( A group of Uyghur activists is calling on the Biden administration to demand information from Beijing about last Monday’s high-rise fire in the capital city of Xinjiang province, alleging that the death count is much higher than the government is admitting.

The Chinese government reported that ten people were killed in the deadly fire that broke out last Monday in the city of Urumqi which was under COVID lockdown at the time.

While protesting outside of the US State Department on Monday, Salih Hudayar, the head of a human rights group focused on China’s genocide of ethnic minority groups, claimed that photos from the fire suggest that the death toll was likely 44. He said residents in the building were unable to escape their homes since their doors were bolted due to the quarantine.

Hudayar said the lockdown barricades at the building also prevented fire trucks from getting close enough to fight the blaze. Video footage of the fire showed firefighters spraying water that didn’t reach the building.

Hudayar also said residents of the building said it took three hours before the firefighters arrived at the scene.

Last Monday’s fire triggered protests throughout China that continued into this week.

After the fire, students throughout China organized wakes for the victims and other victims of China’s Zero-COVID policy. On university campuses, students began putting up posters and graffiti demanding freedom and remembering the victims of the Urumqi fire.

By Sunday, the demonstrations over the country’s Zero-COVID policy had spread to about 20 provinces throughout China. The situation turned violent in several cities with police clashing with protesters.

On Saturday evening, people gathered in the city center of Shanghai to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of the fire. By midnight, the crowd had grown to over a thousand, with many chanting “apologize,” “Xi Jinping, step down,” and “Communist Party, step down.”

Students from Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University staged a protest Sunday morning that was quickly shut down by police.

On Wednesday, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s Coordinator for Strategic Communications, told Fox & Friends that the White House would not take sides in the ongoing protests.