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Taiwan condemns riots in Xinjiang, urges China to be tolerant

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Taiwan condemns riots in Xinjiang, urges China to be tolerant

Taipei, July 9 (CNA) Taiwan broke its silence Thursday on the recent riots in China's northwest Xinjiang province, condemning all those who instigated the deadly ethnic violence.
In Taiwan's first official response to the incident, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan said the bloody riots in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital, deserve the strongest condemnation.
While urging that all parties involved in the confrontation exercise self-restraint, the premier also expressed the hope that Chinese authorities will demonstrate the greatest possible leniency and tolerance in dealing with the aftermath.
"We regret the communal violence in the Urumqi area in the past few days and are concerned about the heavy casualties resulting from the incident, " Liu was quoted as having said at a weekly Cabinet meeting.
The premier further asked that the Chinese government protect the properties and personal safety of Taiwanese citizens living, doing business or traveling in the Xinjiang area.
Noting that both Taiwan and China have signed the U.N.-sponsored International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Liu urged China to observe all of its ethnic groups' basic human rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Liu's appeal came amid the worst outbreak of ethnic violence in decades in Xinjiang -- a sprawling, oil-rich territory that borders Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries. The region is home to the Uighur ethnic minority, who rioted Sunday and attacked Han Chinese, China's largest ethnic group, after holding a protest that was ended by police.
The crisis was so acute that Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short a trip to Italy, where he was scheduled to participate in a Group of Eight summit.
After three days of rioting, the Urumqi area has settled into tense quiet, as thousands of Chinese troops flooded into the city.
The incident has left more than 150 people dead and hundreds of others injured, according to foreign wire service reports.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) issued astatement Thursday, calling on all relevant parties to remain calm and communicate with each other in a peaceful and rational manner.
The council also reminded Chinese authorities that social stability will be maintained only on the basis of upholding popular human rights.
It expressed the hope that China can accelerate reforms in line with the two U.N.-sponsored human rights covenants. "Only through reform and progress on all fronts, not just economic growth, can a harmonious society be achieved," the MAC statement added.
(By Sofia Wu)