|Hu holds key meeting on Xinjiang riot, vowing severe punishment on culprits|
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday night convened a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to discuss the deadly Xinjiang riot.
Standing Committee members agreed that stability in Xinjiang was the "most important and pressing task," according to a statement issued Thursday. They also vowed "severe punishment" of culprits in accordance with the law.
Hu, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, cut short his trip to Europe and skipped the G-8 meeting due to the situation in Xinjiang. He returned to Beijing Wednesday afternoon.
The government would "firmly crack down on serious crimes, including assaults, vandalism, looting and arson," to maintain social stability and safeguard people's fundamental interests in Xinjiang, said the statement.
The Standing Committee ordered authorities to "isolate and crack down on the tiny few" and "unify and educate the majority of masses."
"Instigators, organizers, culprits and violent criminals in the unrest shall be severely punished in accordance with the law," it said. "Those taking part in the riot due to provocation and deceit by separatists, should be given education."
Sunday's violence in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, had a "profound" political background, the statement said.
It was a serious crime, which was masterminded and organized by the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism at home and abroad, it said. The unrest had resulted in great losses and done great harm to local order and stability, it said.
The Standing Committee asked local governments to visit bereaved families, innocent people injured, and those with property losses, to offer necessary support and aid.
At least 156 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the riot.
The statement said all levels of CPC committees, rural organizations, communities, enterprises, institutions and schools should form working groups and go deep into grassroots units, enabling each member of the public to strictly implement Party and government policies.
It called on CPC members to "stand severe tests at critical moments," and depend on the masses of all ethnic groups to maintain stability.
"Cadres and the public in Xinjiang should stick to the principle that stability overrides everything," it said.
The meeting called for "holding high the banner of ethnic unity" and carrying on the tradition that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang "breathe together, share the same destiny and have their hearts linked to each other."
People should know "the Han ethnic group cannot be separated from minorities, minorities cannot do without Han and minority groups also cannot do without each other," the statement said.
It called on the public and officials in Xinjiang to always cherish ethnic unity so as to achieve a situation of common prosperity.
It told officials to ignore rumors, not to be incited or instigated nor to participate in illegal activities and to firmly fight criminal activities so as to maintain ethnic unity and social stability.
The meeting called on all Party committees and governments to boost "political awareness."
"Officials should enhance their sense of responsibility and lead the public to maintain economic growth, improve livelihoods and ensure stability," it said.