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July 17, 2009

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SOE donations aid Urumuqi victims

SIXTY-SIX state-owned enterprises in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region donated 170 million yuan (US$24 million) yesterday for the families of victims of the July 5 violence in the regional capital Urumqi.

The donations came from SOEs with headquarters or branches in Xinjiang, including the mining and energy giant Shenhua Group, Baosteel Group Co and COFCO, the country's largest oils and food trader, according to the regional state-owned assets supervision and administration commission.

Kuresh Mahsut, vice chairman of the regional government, said at the donation ceremony that big enterprises were an important force in safeguarding Xinjiang's stability and promoting its economic development.

"The July 5 riot will not affect the investment environment in Xinjiang," he said.

The SOE donations came after 33 business chambers and agencies in the region donated 6.05 million yuan this week to those affected by the riot which has left 192 dead and more than 1,600 injured.

The regional government said last week that the families of innocent people killed in the riot would receive compensation of 200,000 yuan in addition to a funeral fee of 10,000 yuan and a "comfort benefit" of 10,000 yuan for each fatality.

In Ashitu City, old school friends of exiled Uygur activist Rebiya Kadeer's husband, Sidik Haji Rouzi, are counting their losses from the deadly July 5 riot and wondering about the gulf that has come between them.

Abudulareheman Aisha, 67, who attended middle school with Sidik, complained about the losses to his fig and grape crop caused by the riot.

Abudulareheman said fruit dealers have refrained from coming to his orchard out of concerns for their safety, leaving the ripened figs to rot.

"Since the riot, the price for 100 figs has fallen to 25 yuan from 100 yuan," he said. "I have lost thousands of yuan."

He worries about his grapes which are due to ripen by September.

Abudulareheman said Sidik was quiet as a school boy. "Sidik's performance as a student was quite average. It is hard to imagine Sidik would turn out to be a separatist and conspirator. The man has been making troubles and is a shame to our village."


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