198 convicted for Xinjiang unrest: Chinese official

Last Updated: Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 22:15

Beijing: China has so far convicted 198
people linked to the bloody ethnic riots last July in its
troubled Xinjiang region, a top official said on Sunday, warning
that final figure will be more.

Nur Berkri, chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous
regional government, said 198 people have been convicted for
involvement in the deadly riots between native Uyghurs and
Hans Chinese eight months ago in the northwest Xinjiang Uygur
autonomous region. The senior local official said the
"secessionists" movement may turn more violent.

"The investigation, prosecution and trial are still
going on, and the final figure of the people sentenced will be
more than that," Berkri told a press conference on the
sidelines of the annual session of the National People`s
Congress (NPC), the country`s top legislature.

He refused to give details of the number sentenced to
death or how many had been executed.

The riot in the Xinjiang regional capital of Urumqi on
July 5, 2009 left 197 people dead and more than 1,700 injured
in the clashes between Uyghur Muslims and Han Chinese.

Berkri said it demonstrated that the struggle against
secession in Xinjiang will be long-drawn, complicated and
acute.

Berkri underlined that a few secessionists are
reluctant to allow people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang to
live a happy life....and they do everything possible to
sabotage ethnic relations, distort Xinjiang`s history, and
advocate their ideas of secession.

"We believe they will become more violent after the
July 5 riot and will launch new attacks. But no matter what
methods they use, they are doomed to failure," official Xinhua
news agency quoted him as saying.

"Any criminal activity that undermines social order
and damages people`s life and property will be punished by
law," he said.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 22:15

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