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Discord said to be incited from abroad

SUNDAY'S violence in Urumqi - "evil killing, fire setting and looting" - was orchestrated from abroad, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said yesterday.

"Anybody calling the violence a peaceful protest is trying to turn black into white in an attempt to mislead the public," Qin said at his regular press conference.

Police have arrested 1,434 suspects in Sunday's riots, which left at least 156 people dead and more than 1,000 injured, the largest number of casualties in any single incident of its kind in six decades.

Qin said the death and destruction resulted from the fear of social progress and prosperity in the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"The violence was a premeditated, organized violent crime. It was instigated and directed from abroad, and carried out by outlaws in the country," the spokesman said.

Xinjiang police officials said on Monday they had evidence that separatist World Uyghur Congress leader Rebiya Kadeer masterminded the riot.

Rebiya Kadeer, a former businesswoman in China, was detained in 1999 on charges of harming national security. She was released on bail on March 17, 2005, to seek medical treatment in the United States.

But she participated in separatist actions while living abroad, Qin said, urging other countries "to see clearly the essence of Eastern Turkestan groups, and not to extend sympathy or support to them in any form."

Xinjiang authorities, who said they had evidence that Rebiya Kadeer used the Internet and other means of communication to mastermind the riot in the region, cut off the Internet in parts of Urumqi to prevent violence from spreading.


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