Beijing: Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday called for strengthening of ethnic unity in the country, his first public comments on the issue more than three weeks after deadly riots in the far west killed nearly 200 people.
Jintao did not directly refer to the violence in
Xinjiang between minority Uighurs and majority Han Chinese. He
has not publicly appeared in the region since the July 5 riots
in Xinjiang`s capital, Urumqi.
"People of all ethnicities should respect each other,
care for each other, and help each other to achieve common
progress," Hu said on a tour of southwestern Yunnan province.
"Let the flower of ethnic unity bloom brightly and
The Xinjiang violence was China`s worst ethnic unrest
in decades, with 197 people dead and more than 1,700 wounded.
Most of the dead were Han Chinese, though Uighurs say they
believe many more of their community were killed in the
ensuing government crackdown.
Officials today said that limited phone messaging and
Internet access are now available in Xinjiang, after they were
suspended in the wake of the riots as the government tried to
prevent the violence from spreading.
Xinjiang Governor Nur Bekri has accused protesters of
using the Internet and text messaging to mobilise rioters.