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President: China needs stability in restive west

President: China needs stability in restive west

China's President Hu Jintao has pledged new reforms to help accelerate economic growth in Xinjiang after the remote region was rocked by deadly ethnic rioting, saying that stability there matters to the whole country.
Chinese state television and other media outlets issued broadcasts Wednesday of Hu's comments to top officials in Xinjiang's capital of Urumqi. The remarks came Tuesday during Hu's first visit since ethnic riots convulsed the city July 5 and killed nearly 200 people.
"Doing a good job in Xinjiang concerns not just the Xinjiang region, but in fact is a matter for the whole country," Hu said, adding the central government plans to "take major steps" to improve the quality of life in Xinjiang and promote the region so it can "leap forward" economically. Hu gave no specifics about the planned changes.
Hu said China would continue to focus on economic construction, uphold social stability, and focus on developing all ethnic groups.
Violence in Urumqi broke out after police stopped an initially peaceful protest by Uighur youths, prompting crowds to smash windows, burn cars and attack Han Chinese. Two days later, Han vigilantes carried out revenge attacks on Uighurs.
China Central Television on Wednesday showed Hu meeting with Muslim religious leaders and chatting with Uighur farmers, factory workers and soldiers. It also showed him meeting the widow of a Han policemen killed in the riots and reported that he promised she would be taken care of by the government. Hu held the woman's hand as she wiped away tears.
In his remarks to regional leaders, Hu warned that any separatist groups seeking independence in China would not succeed.
"The victory of this struggle fully showed the power of the party and the people," he said. "The splittist forces are doomed to fail and their sabotage activities will not shake the overall situation of the stable development of reforms in Xinjiang."
The unrest marked China's worst ethnic rioting in decades, exposing deep anger among the minority Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers) and prompting outrage among the majority Han Chinese.
Uighurs have long complained of discrimination and economic marginalization by Han migrants who have flooded into Xinjiang since communist troops entered the region in 1949. Like Tibetans, another restive minority, many Uighurs claim they were independent for much of their history.
The ethnic violence shook China's leadership, prompting Hu to cut short his trip to a G-8 summit in Italy.
Beijing has repeatedly accused exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer of fomenting the recent violence, but has offered little proof.


Updated : 2020-12-02 12:37 GMT+08:00