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China unrest: Appeal for help


News 24

Beijing - Three more people were killed and more than 20 injured after Han Chinese residents attacked Uighurs in China's far western city of Urumqi, a Uighur exile group reported on Monday as it appealed for UN observers to investigate the ethnic conflict there.

The latest attack by about 100 "Chinese migrants" came late on Sunday in a Uighur area near Urumqi's Xingfu Road and Jiefang South Road, the Munich-based World Uighur Congress said in a statement.

The group said two Uighur men and a 40-year-old woman died in the attack, but the report could not immediately be confirmed.

State media reported no new attacks on Sunday in Urumqi, where migration has made Han Chinese the dominant ethnic group in the capital of China's vast Xinjiang region.

"We are extremely worried about the current situation in Urumqi," Dilxat Raxit, the spokesperson for the World Uighur Congress, said in the statement.

"Now it is very difficult for Uighurs and Han to continue living in the same city," Raxit said.

"For the safety of both sides and to avoid the continued suppression of Uighurs by China's paramilitary personnel, I appeal for the United Nations to send observers immediately," he said.


He also appealed for China's ruling Communist Party to hold talks with exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, who is accused by China of organising rioting on July 5 that, according to government tallies, left 197 people dead and about 1 600 injured.

Kadeer denied the charges and has claimed that up to 800 people died in Urumqi in early July, many of them Uighurs shot or beaten to death by police.

Uighurs have long said they face discrimination at the hands of China's Han majority.

Security remained tight in Urumqi on Sunday, one day after several top government officials were dismissed over the continuing unrest in the city.

Five people died after tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Thursday and Friday, criticising local city and regional leaders for failing to ensure security in Urumqi.

The city's Communist Party secretary, Li Zhi, was removed from his post on Saturday along with Xinjiang's police chief, Liu Yaohua, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Although the Han are China's dominant ethnic group, in Xinjiang, the Uighurs are the largest, but the balance is tipping as Han move to the region. In Urumqi, they now outnumber the Uighurs.

___Needle attacks

The latest unrest there was touched off by reports of attacks by Uighurs using hypodermic syringes, the first of which surfaced in mid-August.

The regional government said city hospitals had dealt with 531 victims of needle stabbings, most of them Han Chinese, with 106 people showing "obvious signs" of needle attacks.

According to an unconfirmed report by a Han resident of Urumqi, a mob of Han passengers beat to death one Uighur who was discovered with a needle and syringe on a public bus.

The government's official Xinhua news agency said police had detained 25 people suspected of involvement in the needle attacks.

"Four suspects, three men and one woman, have been prosecuted for endangering public security," Wutkur Abdurahman, the city's procurator general, was quoted as saying.

Two suspects threatened and robbed a taxi driver using a syringe, another stabbed a woman at a roadside fruit stall and a police officer was stabbed with a drug-filled needle while dealing with a man who was resisting arrest, Xinhua reported.

Meanwhile, more than 2 000 officials and police officers have been sent to Uighur and Han communities in Urumqi to "help solve public disputes", Xinjiang's regional Communist Party leader Wang Lequan was quoted as saying on Sunday.

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