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Xinjiang officials: safeguarding ethnic unity a priority after riot
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21:55, July 24, 2009

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· Brutal riots in Xinjiang
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Safeguarding ethnic unity sabotaged by the July 5 riot in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is a fundamental task of the government, officials said here Friday.

The riot, which killed at least 197 people, has led to alienation among ethnic groups, said Nur Berkri, chairman of the Xinjiang regional government.

Governments at all levels must promote education on national unity and laws, he said.

Nur Berkri said officials should better understand what the public needs, especially those in poverty. More attention should be paid to providing psychological assistance to the victims and encouraging them to rebuild their homes.

He made the remarks at the 12th meeting of the 11th Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Regional People's Congress which ended Friday.

Eligen Imibakhi, chairman of the standing committee of the Xinjiang Regional People's Congress, also called for efforts to clear up the misunderstanding among ethnic groups.

"We must cherish the ethnic unity and stability just like we cherish our eyes," he said. "We must clearly know who are our enemies and who are our brothers and sisters."

Many ethnic minorities had no thought for their own safety to rescue the Han people. It proves that ethnic unity could withstand any tests, he said.

"Any separatist and terrorist attempts are doomed to fail because they sabotaged the fundamental interests and the happy life of people of all nationalities."

He urged the public not to believe or spread rumours, but to fight against activities that inflict damages to ethnic unity.

People's congress and its standing committee at all levels should step up legislation and supervision to crack down on separatist activities and violent crimes, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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