Urumqi crawls towards normalcy as China stresses stabilityJuly 9th, 2009 - 3:34 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, July 9 (DPA) More traffic and shoppers returned to the streets of China’s riot-hit city of Urumqi Thursday as thousands of paramilitary police patrolled.
Markets and car parks were busier than Wednesday as the government appealed for calm and stressed after ethnic-related violence there that life in Urumqi was “returning to normal”.
China State Television broadcast footage of scores of people walking around major shopping areas Thursday morning in the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang but avoided showing the police and troops on the streets.
Other state media said He Guoqiang, a member of the elite Politburo of the ruling Communist Party, had stressed the need for “social harmony and stability”.
“The recent violence in Urumqi … has again alerted us to the importance of social stability,” He said during a visit Wednesday to Gansu, an ethnically mixed province bordering Xinjiang. “It is our top priority.”
State media have reported no news of President Hu Jintao since he returned Wednesday from Italy after cancelling his attendance at the Group of Eight summit to address the ethnic conflict in Xinjiang.
The government has not updated the number of dead and injured for more than two days despite reports of new attacks by Uighur and Han Chinese groups.
It has also reported no news from other cities in Xinjiang, some of which also had protests by Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim group that accuses Beijing of discrimination, earlier this week.
Smaller protests and reprisals against Uighurs by groups of Han Chinese were reported in Urumqi Wednesday.
The official casualty toll stands at 156 dead and more than 1,000 injured, but Uighur exile groups claimed that up to 800 people have died in the violence, many of them Uighurs shot or beaten to death by police.
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Tags: broadcast footage, car parks, casualty toll, chinese groups, ethnic conflict, exile groups, group of eight summit, hu jintao, muslim group, paramilitary police, ruling communist party, shopping areas, social harmony, social stability, state television, television broadcast, top priority, turkic, uighur, xinjiang