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Xinjiang Party chief calls for avoiding ethnic conflicts

XINJIANG'S top Communist Party official called for avoiding confrontation between ethnic groups in the region in a televised speech today.

Wang Lequan, secretary of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), also said the city of Urumqi will adopt a "comprehensive traffic control" tonight to avoid further chaos amid the ongoing unrest.

The death toll from Sunday's riot in Urumqi has risen to 156, with 1,080 injured.

The traffic curfew will be imposed from 9pm today to 8am tomorrow, he said.

"It may bring some inconvenience for your. But we expect your understanding," Wang said.

"Some Han people took to the streets in Urumqi today, disrupting social order," he said. "It is completely unnecessary.

"Neither the people of Han nor Uygur ethnicities are willing to see the Han people being attacked. It is the same the other way around. If the Han people attack the innocent Uygur people, it is also heart-breaking.

"The family members of those who were involved in the violence are innocent. We should be cool-headed and do not be fooled by the enemies," he said.

"Our targets should be the hostile forces, both at home and abroad, and criminals, rather than our own brothers and sisters of different ethnic backgrounds.

"Irrational behavior will only further worsen the situation," Wang said.

"All the employers in the city should call on their employees to go back home. Ethnic confrontation should be definitely prohibited," he noted.

Wang said an overwhelming majority of the suspects involved in the deadly violence are now under investigation.

"Some of those involved are students. Most of the youngsters were unaware of the truth. If they did not play a major role in the violence, they will be released. Their future should not be ruined.

"All the injured have received the best medical treatment," said Wang.

The government would comfort and compensate bereaved families, and try hard to help restore business for those who suffered losses in the violence, he said.

The death toll from Sunday's riot in Urumqi has risen to 156, with 1,080 injured.


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