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ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN CHINA LEAVES 5 DEAD, 14 INJURED

Rallies, government closures cripple Urumqi.

New York Times

BEIJING - At least five people have been killed and 14 wounded during days of protests by ethnic Han demanding a government clampdown on Uighurs in the capital of the restive western region of Xinjiang, according to the state news agency, which quoted the city's deputy mayor.

The deputy mayor, Zhang Hong, gave the casualty toll at a news conference late Friday in Urumqi, the regional capital. The news agency, Xinhua, did not report the ethnicities of the victims and had no other details.

Urumqi remained paralyzed Friday as Han protesters continued to rally to call for more security against alleged Uighur attacks, forcing the government to close schools, offices and shops to keep people off the streets. Police used tear gas to disperse protesters.

Helicopters were seen swooping overhead in the morning, a day after tens of thousands of Han, the dominant ethnic group in China, took to the streets to criticize the government for failing to prevent what they believe to be needle-stabbing attacks by Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs), according to an earlier report by Xinhua. Some of the Han said the needles were infected with HIV.

Tensions between Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people who are largely Muslim, and Han have remained high since rioting broke out in July, in China's worst ethnic violence in decades. About 200 people were killed and 1,700 wounded, the government said, and most of the dead were Han.

The violence brought to the surface the resentments that have long coursed through Xinjiang. Uighurs complain that the ruling Han discriminate against them, and Han say the Uighurs are ungrateful for the benefits that Han governance has brought.

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