Sep 5 2009
Over the past month, more than 400 Han Chinese have been stabbed with tainted syringes by Chinese Uighurs, the MUSLIM minority.
URUMQI – China’s security chief blamed Muslim separatists Friday for a string of bizarre needle attacks that drew thousands of angry protesters into the streets as officials disclosed that five people were killed and 14 injured during demonstrations in this restive city.
Police fired tear gas to break up continuing protests by thousands of Han Chinese, the country’s majority ethnic group, underscoring how unsettled Urumqi remains despite a massive security crackdown after ethnic rioting in July that left 197 people dead. The Xinjiang region, of which Urumqi is the capital, has for decades faced a simmering separatist movement by Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group.
Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu said the same Muslim separatists that Beijing blames for the July 5 ethnic rioting also orchestrated the syringe attacks. “The needle stabbing incident is a continuation of the ‘7-5’ incident, and it’s plotted by unlawful elements and instigated by ethnic separatist forces,” Mr. Meng said in comments broadcast on nationwide television. “Their purpose is to damage ethnic unity.” WASHINGTON TIMES