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September 6, 2009

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Senior officials sacked over attacks

THE Party chief of Urumqi and police chief of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region were sacked from their posts yesterday as calm returned to the troubled city's streets.

Li Zhi, secretary of the Urumqi Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was replaced by Zhu Hailun, secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Political and Legislative Affairs Committee, according to a decision by the CPC Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Committee.

Li, 59, was appointed Urumqi Party chief in November 2006, after he worked in the regional light industry department, Bortala and Changji prefectures, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Zhu, 51, was appointed a standing committee member of the CPC Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Committee and secretary of the CPC Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Political and Legislative Affairs Committee in 2006.

He previously worked in Yecheng, Kashi and Hotan in Xinjiang.

Also yesterday, Liu Yaohua, director of the Xinjiang Autonomous Regional Public Security Department, was replaced by Zhu Changjie, Party chief of Xinjiang's Aksu Prefecture, following a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Autonomous Regional People's Congress, the local legislature.

Liu's removal was a result of the July 5 riot in Urumqi which left 197 people dead and the syringe attacks in the city that caused panic among the public.

Urumqi was quiet yesterday, a day after local residents took to the streets to protest against the syringe attacks.

Most downtown streets were quieter than normal weekends, with policemen standing guard at major intersections and traffic restrictions imposed on Thursday night still in place to keep vehicles off roads.

Few pedestrians were seen in the southern part of the city mostly inhabited by people of the Uygur ethnic group. On a pivotal street linking the People's Hospital with Urumqi Zoo, some stores were still operating.

Police wagons patrolled urban roads, carrying loudspeakers that announced messages reminding citizens of traffic restrictions imposed since Thursday night.

"These have certainly caused inconvenience in your travels, but please do understand," one of the messages said.

Traffic restrictions were still in effect but were loosened to some extent yesterday, with buses and taxis being allowed to pass some intersections that were off-limits to all vehicles until Friday.

Also yesterday, the 18th Urumqi Trade Fair, China's only business event targeting central, west and south Asia, closed.

The fair drew more than 500 business people from 29 countries and regions, including Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and many from 21 inland provinces in China.


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