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Normal routine returning to Urumqi
2009/07/15
     With the reopening of kebab stalls, shops, bank and post office outlets, life in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is returning to normal after Sunday's deadly riot.

    On Friday, the city's No.104 bus resumed operation. All the 43 bus lines were in normal operation, said the Urumqi Public Transport Group.

    Security was strengthened as each bus had a security guard on board, said a source with the group on Friday. About 190 buses were burnt or smashed in the riot, which killed at least 156 people.

    Special personnel were dispatched to patrol key bus lines, gas stations and car parks, the source said.

    All post office outlets in the city had resumed normal operation, the Urumqi Postal Bureau said Friday.

    University admission letters from across the country to Urumqi will be sent to the candidates' homes in time, the bureau said. Currently, it is a time for Chinese colleges and universities to recruit new students after the national entrance exams held early last month.

    The Urumqi Branch of the Bank of East Asia at the People's Square, a center for Sunday's riot, resumed business on Thursday.

    "The riot may have some impact on Xinjiang in the short term, but the impact will weaken as times goes by," said a female public relations clerk of the bank, who declined to be identified.

    "Xinjiang is destined to be a hotspot of development because of its distinctive resources and geographical location, "she said. "Some foreign-invested companies hope to tap the Central Asia market via Xinjiang."

    Restaurants in Urumqi have also begun to restore business.

"Our meat pancakes sell well and are very popular among domestic and foreign tourists," said the boss of a restaurant near the Grand Bazaar in downtown Urumqi. The restaurant, offering Uygur food, reopened on Thursday.

    Ymamjan, general manager of another large Uygur restaurant near the bazaar, said the restaurant suffered a loss of at least 20,000 yuan a day after the riot. It had 4,000 to 5,000 guests every day. It reopened on Thursday.

    Ymamjan said he expected tourists both at home and abroad to still come to Xinjiang.

    Muslims' Prayer

    As routine was returning to normal, the riot still had an effect on religious services.

    Some mosques in Urumqi were closed Friday and Muslims were told to perform their weekly congregational prayer at home.

    All five major mosques near the Southern Jiefang Road, center of the Sunday violence, were closed Friday morning.

    Outside the Baida Mosque, at No. 441 Southern Jiefang Road, an imam explained that the place had been closed "for safety considerations" and advised people to perform prayers at home instead.

    "Mosques in some sensitive areas were closed at their imams' suggestion," said an official in charge of religious affairs with the Xinjiang regional government. "Muslims normally perform rituals at home in time of plague or social unrest."

    But mosques in other places in Xinjiang had the ritual normally.

    Normal Port and Customs Services, Tourism Festival

    All the ports operated as usual after the riot, according to the Xinjiang border police.

    "The outbound passenger flow was smooth," said Fan Wenhua, a border inspection official at Horgos, a large land port in Xinjiang which neighbors Kazakhstan.

    Fan said the inbound passengers dropped slightly compared with June.

    The customs services were also normal.

    In the Kazak Autonomous Prefecture of Ili in northern Xinjiang, an international tourism festival opened on Friday, attracting more than 10,000 foreign and domestic visitors and local people.

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