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Official vows to strike hard in riot arrests

A XINJIANG official yesterday vowed severe punishment for the perpetrators of the "deadliest riot since New China was founded in 1949."

"The rioters violated laws and harmed the fundamental interests of all Chinese ethnic groups," said Li Zhi, Communist Party chief of Xinjiang's capital city of Urumqi.

Police in Xinjiang have arrested 1,434 suspects over Sunday's deadly riot for acts including killings, beatings, arson and looting.

Police also detained 15 suspects in connection with an earlier south China factory fight that has been blamed for spurring the Xinjiang unrest.

Thirteen men, including three natives of Xinjiang, were detained for participating in a fight between workers at a toy factory on June 26 in Shaoguan City, Guangdong Province, Liu Guoqiang, deputy director of the Public Security Bureau of Shaoguan, said yesterday.

The other two men were arrested for spreading rumors on the Internet that Xinjiang employees had raped two female workers, according to Liu. The majority of those detained were Guangdong natives.

More than 400 police officers were still searching for additional suspects yesterday.

A Xinjiang official said yesterday that a single event such as the factory brawl will not affect the region's overall labor policy.

"In addition to Shaoguan, many coastal cities have also offered job opportunities to Xinjiang migrant workers, and the working and living environment there has been stable and normal," said Abdukeyum Muhammat, deputy secretary of the Xinjiang Kanji Prefectural Committee of the Communist Party of China.


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