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More arrested after China violence: state media

30 april 2013, 10:02
0
©REUTERS/China Daily
©REUTERS/China Daily
China arrested more "terrorists" in the ethnically-divided region of Xinjiang where violence last week killed 21, while a rights group dismissed terrorism claims, AFP reports citing state-media.

State-run broadcaster CCTV said "another group of terrorists has been arrested", citing senior security official Meng Hongwei, following clashes in the western region of Xinjiang that authorities have blamed on terrorism.

The report did not say how many people had been arrested.

Local authorities told AFP that eight members of the Uighur ethnic group were arrested in connection with last week's unrest. The region, home to millions of Uighurs, who are predominately Muslim, is often hit by violence.

"The claims of terrorism are suspected of being an excuse to oppress Uighurs," Dilshat Rexit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, which is run by exiled members of the minority, said in an email.

He called on Chinese authorities to publish an independent investigation into their accusations of terrorism, echoing an earlier call by the United States, which was dismissed by China as evidence of a "double standard".

Many Uighurs complain of religious and cultural repression by Chinese authorities, which rights groups identify as the source of unrest in Xinjiang.

Chinese authorities and state media often blame the unrest on "terrorism".

Local authorities in the region have attempted to stop females from wearing full-veiled dress, and prevent males from wearing long beards, notices posted on local government websites showed.

"The practice of minority women and children wearing Arab clothing, and the wearing of full beards, will disappear," one notice posted on the website of Yining, a city in Xinjiang, said.

Riots between Uighurs and members of China's Han ethnic majority in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi in 2009 killed around 200 people, leading the ruling Communist Party to tighten surveillance and boost investment in the region.

According to official figures, 46 percent of Xinjiang's population is Uighur, while another 39 percent are Han Chinese, after millions moved to the area in recent decades.

Calls made to China's Ministry of Public Security and Xinjiang's regional government went unanswered on Monday.

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