China says ethnic policies not to blame for Urumqi riots

China's policies toward its ethnic minorities were not to blame for deadly riots this month by Muslim Uighurs and would not be adjusted as a result of the violence, the government said on Tuesday.

"The violent crimes in (the Xinjiang capital) Urumqi have nothing to do with China's ethnic policies," Wu Shimin, vice minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, told a press briefing.

The government has so far blamed "separatists" for July 5 riots in the western Xinjiang region

Wu said the country's policies toward its 56 ethnic groups are continually tweaked as needed but he said there were no plans for specific changes in the wake of the riots.

Members of the Uighur minority, a mainly Muslim, central Asian people, went on a rampage on July 5, assaulting members of China's dominant Han ethnic group.

The attacks left 197 people dead, the head of Xinjiang's government has said.

Wu repeated the government's position that the unrest was triggered by separatist terrorist forces.

China has a range of policies meant to provide extra economic, educational and other benefits to its ethnic minorities, and has set up a number of purportedly self-ruled ethnic autonomous regions or counties.

Liu Wanqing, another top official with the ethnic affairs commission, admitted there was some tension between ethnic groups, but insisted ethnic relations overall were in "good shape."

Source: AFP

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