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China leadership vows to punish outlaws in Xinjiang riot (07/10/09)


URUMQI, July 10 (Xinhua) -- China's top leadership has vowed to punish those responsible for Sunday's riot in the northwestern Xinjiang region in accordance with the law and to educate those taking part in it after being deceived by separatists.

Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, said in his tour of the autonomous region on Friday that all available efforts should be mobilized to "win the tough war of maintaining Xinjiang's stability."

The Party's top official in charge of law enforcement stressed that efforts should be made to "resolutely implement" the spirit of the Political Bureau meeting on Wednesday night, and use "tough measures" to ensure stability.

President Hu Jintao on Wednesday night convened a meeting of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau to discuss the deadly Xinjiang riot.

The nine Political Bureau Standing Committee members, headed byCPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu, agreed that stability in Xinjiang was the "most important and pressing task," and vowed "severe punishment" of culprits in accordance with the law.

At least 156 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the riot on Sunday in Urumqi, capital city of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Hu cut short his trip to Europe and skipped the G8 meeting due to the situation in Xinjiang. He returned to Beijing Wednesday afternoon.

The meeting said the government would "firmly crack down on serious crimes, including assaults, vandalism, looting and arson."

The Standing Committee ordered authorities to "isolate and crack down on the tiny few" and "unify and educate the majority of masses."

"Instigators, organizers, culprits and violent criminals in the unrest shall be severely punished in accordance with the law," it said. "Those taking part in the riot due to provocation and deceit by separatists, should be given education."

Hu's stance in handling the riot was echoed by Zhou, one of the nine Political Bureau Standing Committee members, who arrived in the region Thursday afternoon.

Zhou said Thursday that the government and the Party would crack down hard on violence, severely punish the outlaws in accordance with the law, so as to protect the lives and property of people of all ethnic groups, safeguard ethnic unity and restore normal social order in the region as soon as possible.

The country's top police officer Meng Jianzhu was the first senior official from the central government to arrive in the Xinjiang region.

When visiting residents injured by the rioters and family members of those victims in Urumqi on Wednesday, the state councilor and public security minister urged "no leniency in the punishment of thugs who took part in the Urumqi riot".

Meng said leading rioters should be punished "with the utmost severity" and those taking part in the riot, who were provoked and cheated by separatists, should be given persuasion and education.

"All the thugs in the riot should be severely punished in accordance with law, otherwise we will let the victims and their relatives down," Meng repeated his comment on Thursday while visiting residents in Urumqi and a funeral parlor to mourn the Armed Police and other victims of the riot.

Senior Chinese leader He Guoqiang also stressed social harmony and stability on Wednesday.

He, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, made the remarks during a two-day visit to Gansu Province, which neighbors Xinjiang.

"The recent violence in Urumqi... has again alerted us to the importance of social stability. It is our top priority," he said.

He urged Party and government departments at all levels to crack down on the acts of sabotage by hostile forces both at home and abroad, in order to ensure national and ethnic unity and social stability.

The Party's top publicity official Li Changchun on Wednesday called for redoubled efforts to improve education on patriotism and ethnic unity, to create a favorable atmosphere for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Li, also one of the nine Political Bureau Standing Committee members, made the remarks during a three-day visit to the northwestern province of Qinghai, adjacent to Xinjiang.

"In regions inhabited by ethnic minorities, patriotic education must be combined with education on ethnic unity," he said, to let the public understand that "ethnic unity comes with blessings while disunity with woes".



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