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September 2, 2009

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Trade fair goes ahead after riot

THE 18th Urumqi Trade Fair, China's only business event targeting central, west and south Asia, opened yesterday, nearly two months after the deadly riot in the city.

The trade fair has attracted more than 500 foreign businesspeople from 29 countries and regions, including Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It also attracted many businesses from 21 inland provinces and municipalities.

The trade fair, in the capital city of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, covers an area of 35,000 square meters and has more than 2,000 exhibition stalls, including a "Hong Kong Hall" and a "Pakistan Hall."

The exhibition stalls were sold out before the fair began, and is proof that the riot did not change Xinjiang's geographical advantage, said Nur Bekri, the regional government chairman.

The July 5 riot left 197 people dead and about 1,600 injured.

The annual trade fair first started in 1992. In the ensuing 17 years US$31.7 billion worth of contracts have been signed with foreign businesses at the fair.

The fair ends on Saturday.


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