Xinjiang vows ‘iron hand’ against violence

Xinjiang vows ‘iron hand’ against violence 28th July, 2009 BEIJING: The second-in-command of China’s Xinjiang region has vowed to crack down on violence with an “iron hand,” state media said Monday, weeks after ethnic unrest in the Muslim area left over 190 dead. Authorities will maintain their efforts to identify and arrest participants in the riots early this month in the Xinjiang capital Urumqi, Nur Bekri said in a speech to the region’s legislators, according to the Xinhua news agency. “We will continue to resolutely crack down on aggressive moves by the enemies and curb violent crimes with an iron hand,” Bekri, the head of the Xinjiang regional government, was quoted as saying. As the top official in Xinjiang’s government, Bekri ranks just below the region’s communist party head. Some of Xinjiang’s Uighur minority, a mainly Muslim, central Asian people, went on the rampage on July 5, assaulting members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group in attacks that left at least 197 people dead. Bekri’s remarks came as China expressed outrage over this week’s visit to Japan by exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, whom Beijing calls a criminal and the “mastermind” behind the recent unrest — charges that she denies. Kadeer, the US-based head of the World Uighur Congress, plans to meet members of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and to call for support for the Uighurs following the unrest, her supporters in Japan said. China’s ambassador to Japan, Cui Tiankai, voiced Beijing’s anger over the planned visit and hinted that ties between the two nations could be hurt. “She is a criminal,” the Kyodo news agency quoted Cui as saying. “How would the people of Japan feel if a violent crime occurred in Japan and its mastermind is invited by a third country?” China has said more than 1,400 people had been detained for their involvement in the unrest with Bekri adding that an ongoing crackdown in the restive region would be strengthened. “We will… completely destroy the network that planned, incited and organised the incident behind the scenes,” Xinhua quoted Bekri as saying. “We will seriously strengthen the overall control of the society… and nip potential security risks in the bud.” Bekri said the government would send teams to “educate” Xinjiang households about “the evil acts and monstrous crimes” of separatists, terrorists and religious extremists headed by the exiled Kadeer. “The stabilisation of public opinion is an important prerequisite of social stability. We should set the task of educating the public as our most urgent and prominent priority at the current stage,” he said.


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