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China frees 1,200 in Tibet, holds 700 over Xinjiang

August 12, 2009

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
August 10, 2009

GENEVA -- China said Monday that it has released more than 1,200
detainees held over unrest in Tibet last year while more than 700
people are still being held following last month's riots in Xinjiang.

"After the 1,231 suspects were punished, made to submit statements of
repentance and educated by judicial authorities in Tibet, they were
freed," Beijing said in a written reply to a UN hearing in Geneva on
China's record on eliminating racial discrimination.

Some 77 others have been charged with serious offences such as
burglary, arson and obstruction of justice, while seven others were
charged with espionage.

Duan Jielong, who headed a 30-strong Chinese delegation at the UN
hearing, confirmed Chinese media reports that police are still
holding 718 people in connection with last month's violence in the
northwest region of Xinjiang.

Duan told the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination that there is "evidence of criminal acts" for all of
these suspects, while others who "committed minor offences have been
dealt with leniently and released."

Another 83 people are facing charges of serious crimes, such as
murder, arson and robbery.

In early July, the authorities said ethnic violence in Xinjiang left
197 people dead, most of them Han Chinese killed by angry mobs from
China's Uighur minority.

Of those killed, 156 were "innocent people," said Duan. They included
134 who were of Han ethnic origin, 11 from the Hui minority, 10
Uighurs and one Manchurian.

The others were "rioters killed while committing criminal violence"
or those whose identities have not yet been established, Duan said.

Non-governmental groups expressed doubts about the Chinese figures.

World Uighur Congress representative Omer Kanat described the death
and injury toll given for the Xinjiang unrest as "not convincing."

"According to our information, (the) numbers of people who have been
arrested are much higher than what Chinese authorities are claiming,"
Kanat told reporters in Geneva.

China said on the first day of the hearing on Friday that last year's
unrest in Tibet and July's violence in Xinjiang were instigated by
separatists abroad.

"Facts have fully shown that the two incidents were premeditated and
organised crimes of violence, directed and instigated by separatists
abroad and carried out by separatists inside China," Duan told the
meeting on Friday.
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