August 24, 2009 in Nation/World

China will put 200 on trial over riots

Associated Press
 

At a glance

The riots broke out July 5 after police stopped an initially peaceful protest by Uighur youths. Uighurs then smashed windows, burned cars and attacked Han. Two days later, the Han took to the streets and staged retaliatory attacks.

BEIJING – More than 200 people are expected to go on trial this week for their involvement in sectarian riots last month that killed nearly 200 people in China’s eastern region of Xinjiang, a state-run newspaper reported today.

The trials will take place in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang and the site of China’s worst ethnic violence in decades, in which an additional 1,700 people were injured, the China Daily reported. The rioting pitted Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs against members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group.

Since the riots, the government says life has largely returned to normal in the city, although officials remain wary of renewed outbreaks of violence.

The newspaper reported last week that more than 3,300 items of physical evidence had been collected, including bricks and clubs stained with blood. The evidence included 91 video clips and 2,169 photographs, it said.

The charges range from vandalizing public property to murder, the China Daily said.

The newspaper did not give a breakdown on how many Uighurs and how many Han would go on trial, but it said more than 170 Uighurs and 20 Han lawyers had been assigned to the suspects.

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