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Xinjiang tense as officials are axed

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Xinjiang tense as officials are axed


It is still a far cry from normality. But, amid heavy security after days of ethnic unrest left at least five people dead, China’s restive city of Urumqi has resumed its daily routine. The sacking of two senior officials seems to have partly addressed public complaints about a lack of protection after a spate of mystery syringe attacks. But some Han Chinese think more heads should roll.

One woman in Urumqi demanded the dismissal of the regional Communist Party Secretary Wang Lequan. “We are scared wherever we go and live in fear,” she complained. “For Wang Lequan to go, it would have to be up to the government,” a Han Chinese man added. More alleged syringe attacks prompted scenes of panic today. The authorities say hundreds of people have reported needle stabbings which are being blamed on the Xinjiang region’s Uighur community. Ethnic riots in July saw nearly 200 people killed and tension has been simmering between Han Chinese, the country’s majority ethnic group and Uighurs, a largely Muslim people culturally tied to Central Asia and Turkey.

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