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Relocation spat behind burning

Three people from Xinjiang who set themselves on fire in downtown Beijing last month took the extreme action after their "unreasonable demands" were refused, a regional official said yesterday.

Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region's government, said the three, from the same family, had been in a dispute with the government of the Xinjiang regional capital, Urumqi, over resettlement to make way for a school.

The family were demanding too much, including t jobs, reimbursement of fees covering appealing visits to the government since 2002 and an open apology from the local government, although they had been fully compensated in line with regulations, the official said.

The family has four members - Maimaiti Wushe'er, of the Uzbek ethnic group, his wife, son and daughter, said Li Zhi, head of the Communist Party of China's Urumqi Committee.

Wushe'er, 59, his wife, 58, and their son drove thousands of kilometers from Xinjiang to Beijing, where they set fire to themselves inside the car on February 25. The couple were badly injured and rushed to the Beijing Jishuitan Hospital.

The three left Beijing for Xinjiang on March 1, said Jierla Yishamuding, mayor of Urumqi. "They are now receiving treatment in the Urumqi Friendship Hospital, in a stable condition. The local government will do its best to help them," he said.


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