CHINA> Regional
Civilians, officer killed in Urumqi unrest
Updated: 2009-07-06 07:07

URUMQI: The unrest in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has led to the death of "a number of civilians and one armed police officer" on Sunday, sources with the regional government said early Monday.

Some ordinary people and armed police officers were also injured during the unrest, while many motor vehicles and shops were smashed and burned, the sources said.

The situation is under control now, it added.

Previous government report said that three ordinary people of the Han ethnic group were killed in the incident as of 11 pm Sunday, in addition to 20 others injured.

Initial investigation showed the unrest was masterminded by the World Uyghur Congress led by Rebiya Kadeer, according to the regional government.

"The unrest is a preempted, organized violent crime. It is instigated and directed from abroad, and carried out by outlaws in the country," a government statement said early Monday.

According to the government, the World Uyghur Congress has recently been instigating an unrest via the Internet among other means, calling on the outlaws "to be braver" and "to do something big."

Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government, said in a televised speech Monday morning that the movement came after a conflict between Uygur and Han ethnic people in a toy factory in the southern Guangdong province on June 26.

Two Uygur workers were killed during the factory brawl, which was triggered by a sex assault by a Uygur worker toward a Han female worker. A totoal of 120 others of both Han and Uygur ethnic groups were injured.

Nur Bekri said the brawl was used by some overseas opposition forces to instigate Sunday's unrest and undermine the ethnic unity and social stability in the autonomous region, with an aim to split the country.

"We should bear in mind that stability is to the greatest interest of all people in China, including the people in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region," he said.

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He blamed the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism for making use of the event to sabotage the country, adding that their attempts are doomed to fail.

Meanwhile, the Urumqi municipal government issued an urgent notice early Monday morning, announcing traffic control in certain areas to "maintain social order in the city and guarantee the execution of duty by state organs."

"From 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. on July 6, police impose traffic control in certain areas in the city of Urumqi. Passage in these areas is not allowed for any vehicle," the notice reads.

"All the units and individuals shall voluntarily help maintain social order as required by this notice. People who violate the notice will be detained and punished by police according to law. Those whose acts constitute a crime shall be subject to criminal liabilities according to law," says the notice.

So far the government has not disclosed how many people were involved in Sunday's unrest, only said they illegally gathered and protested in several downtown places at about 7 p.m. Sunday and engaged in beating, smashing, looting and burning.

The government has arrested some rioters, althouth the exact number of people arrested was still not available.

This year marks the region's 60th anniversary of peaceful liberation. But during the annual "two session" in March this year, Nur Bekri warned the security situation in the region would be "more severe".

"It's a time of celebration for Xinjiang people but hostile forces will not give up such an opportunity to sabotage," said the official.

The far western autonomous region is home to more than 10.96 million of ethnic minority people, including Uygur, Mongolian and Hui.