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'Post riots, China's Xinjiang region still remains unstable'

December 25, 2010 - Beijing

China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which was shaken by a deadly riot last year, still faces many factors that may affect stability, according to one of the top officials in the region.

"We should be aware that the stability of Xinjiang remains fragile. There are still many factors from home and abroad that may affect stability, and the task of maintaining stability remains tough," Xinhua quoted Zhang Chunxian, secretary of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Committee of the Communist Party of China, as saying in a key stability meeting.

Xinjiang, with 41.5 percent of its population from the Uygur ethnic group, is the Chinese front line in the battle against terrorism. The region borders eight central and west Asian countries, many of which have been troubled by terrorists and extremists, the report said.

The meeting, attended by Xinjiang's high-level officials and leaders of the regional army and police forces, concluded that authorities are determined to prevent major cases involving violence and terror, and large "mass incidents".

In July 2009, 197 people were killed and 1,700 injured in China's worst riot in Urumqi in decades. Authorities blamed separatists and extremists for inciting the violence.

In the wake of the riot, the central government initiated development drives in the remote, and one of the most underdeveloped regions with the aim of eliminating unscrupulous elements in the region.


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