Beijing: Chinese police have detained 15 persons for allegedly stabbing people with tainted syringes in apparent ethnically motivated attacks in Urumqi leading to massive protests in the restive northwest region.
Of the 15 people detained for stabbings with syringes, four have been prosecuted, the official Xinhua news agency reported from Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Over 1,000 people gathered at a number of locations in Urumqi this morning demanding security guarantees from authorities following “hypodermic syringe attacks,” the report quoted a police officer as saying.
The police officer said people took to the streets around the market after a man stabbed a five-year-old girl today, the latest in a string of attacks. The man was caught by pedestrians.
Members of the Uygur ethnic minority were also among the protesting crowds, Xinhua said.
Wang Lequan, secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and Li Zhi, secretary of the CPC Urumqi City Committee, have appealed to people to stay calm and show restraint.
The attacks came less than two months since 5 July when 197 people were killed, and 1,600 others injured in the worst communal riot in Urumqi.
Riots occurred between Uygurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and ethnic Han Chinese, the majority group in China.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said she did not know about the protests. “I have not yet received news of this, but the Chinese government is capable of upholding stability and social unity,” Jiang Yu said.