According to pictures brought to us by Weixin (that have since been deleted), a policeman critically wounded a watermelon seller in Urumchi, Xinjiang for refusing to vacate his spot on the sidewalk in the downtown shopping area of Nanmen.
Fruit vendors in Xinjiang are typically seasonal minority migrants who sell fruit by the slice: one piece of watermelon typically costs one yuan. Due to the high rents which accompanied the recent privatization of Uyghur bazaars in the city, it has become increasingly difficult for these men to ply their trade. This struggle, combined with the complex levels of Xinjiang security, appears to have landed at least this one fruit seller in the hospital in critical condition.
Eyewitness and police accounts verified by Radio Free Asia indicate that after an argument with local chengguan, an armed police officer was summoned to deal with the situation. The vendor was then shot because he “violated the law by obstructing police on duty.”
The photos posted on Weixin show a policeman pointing a pistol at the fruit-seller, who is holding the knife he uses to cut watermelons, and another shows the young Uyghur man being prodded by a group of People’s Armed Police personnel and police, presumably after he was shot.
Rather than ordering an investigation into the incident, local authorities are said to be more concerned with finding out who posted the pictures on Weixin.