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Urumqi riot handled 'decisively, properly'
By Hu Yinan and Lei Xiaoxun (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-18 09:30

URUMQI: The Chinese government and the Communist Party of China (CPC) handled the July 5 riot in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region "decisively and properly", said a senior CPC official on Friday in Beijing.

"The CPC and the government has always advocated social stability, the socialist legal system, and national unity, as well as the interests of the people," said He Guoqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, according to Xinhua.

Urumqi riot handled 'decisively, properly'
Muslims pray at the Yanghang Mosque on Shengli Road in Urumqi on the Jumu'ah Day, July 17, 2009. [Xinhua]

The riot was a violent crime instigated and organized by the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism at home and abroad, he said.

He told Nguyen Van Chi, chairman of the control committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, that the situation in Urumqi was stable. Nguyen Van Chi, who was visiting Beijing on Friday, said the Vietnamese government and Party supported the Chinese government's response.

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Meanwhile, investigators in Xinjiang have completed their initial probe into ethnic riots that left 197 people dead in the regional capital. Arrest warrants will be issued in the coming days, said the chief prosecutor for Xinjiang.

Hamsi Mamuti said the first group of suspects has already been identified, according to Xinhua. "The arrest warrants will be issued soon," he said. "The violent elements will be severely punished according to the law. The entire process will be strictly based on the law."

The Xinhua report did not say how many arrest warrants would be issued, but Li Zhi, the highest-ranking CPC official for the city of Urumqi, said last week that those found guilty of the most serious crimes could face the death penalty.

Last week, Xinhua reported that more than 1,400 people were detained in connection with the July 5 riots.

The tension in Urumqi continued to ease as all its 433 mosques were opened for prayers on Friday.

Most mosques near the site of the riot were shut for security reasons last Friday at their imams' requests. As the social order gradually returned to normal, all the mosques reopened on Friday, or Jumu'ah Day, said a regional official in charge of religious affairs.

A resident surnamed Ai said he saw police strengthen security around Yanghang Mosque on Yan'an Road. "Members of the congregation must open their bags for checks before entering the mosque," he said.

Although the mosques were open, imams still advised people to perform prayers at home.

"According to the doctrines of the Quran, Muslims can perform rituals at home on Friday but not necessarily at mosques if there is social unrest or war, or their families are sick," said Abdushukur, imam of Baida Mosque.

Muslims pray five times every day, mostly at home. On Friday, they usually gather at mosques to perform weekly prayers.

Xinhua and agencies contributed to the story