URUMQI, July 19 (Xinhua) -- A senior official of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said here Saturday Xinjiang has the confidence to erase the negative impacts of the July 5 riot "in the shortest time" in an interview with overseas reporters.
Nur Bekri, chairman of the regional government, also said in the interview that on the night of July 5, policemen in the regional capital Urumqi "resolutely" shot 12 mobsters after firing guns into the air had no effects on these "extremely vicious" thugs.
Three of them died on the spot while nine died after failing treatment.
RESTRAINED & UNEXPECTED
"The police showed as much restraint as possible during the unrest. Many of them were injured and a 31-year-old officer was killed. He was hit by mobsters in the head with a stone," said Nur Bekri.
He added that many innocent people were injured in the head by thugs with iron rods, stones and bricks. Knives were also used.
According to the official, the riot has left a total of 197 people dead, and most of them were innocent residents.
Nur Bekri admitted that they had never expected a student parade could turn into such ferocious violence.
He said that the local government had taken timely actions to prevent emergencies as soon as they received information on the students' plan.
"But we could never imagine that the mobsters were so extremely vicious and inhumane... We really didn't expect that," he said, referring to thugs entering small alleys and lanes to attack innocent people.
He said that these perpetrators had prepared many weapons such as rods, stones and took actions in various places at the same time, which experts said was similar to the terrorist attacks that occurred in other countries recently.
Nur Bekri said as the local situation is becoming more stable, "it won't be long" before the Internet was completely reopened to the public.
He said that during the riot, the Internet and cell phone messages became the main communication methods for mobsters, and it was necessary for the government to shut down the Internet to stabilize people's emotions and restore social order.
He pointed out this is a measure all countries in the world would adopt in similar situations.
Currently some professional web sites are already accessible inhe region, he added.
CONFIDENCE TO PUT XINJIANG BACK ON TRACK
Nur Bekri told reporters that the negative effects left by the riot would be erased "in the shortest time" and the government had the confidence to ensure the fast development of the region's economy.
He said worries about the future situation of Xinjiang were completely "unnecessary".
"Such a serious incident was cooled down in so short time, which itself shows a solid foundation for people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang," said Nur Bekri.
According to Nur Bekri, the local tourism industry, which was once hard hit by the riot, has already shown sign of revival. He said that the number of tourists from home and aboard had risen in the past two days.
Statistics show that thousands of traveling groups were cancelled after the riot, involving hundreds of thousands of tourists.
"Xinjiang is capable of providing a harmonious and safe environment for tourists... The riot will not affect the opening up policy of the region and we sincerely welcome businessmen from home and aboard to invest here," said Nur Bekri.
Nur Bekri refuted foreign reports which claimed that women of Uygur were forced to go eastward to work.
"Such reports are completely untrue. Before these women were organized to work in other provinces, we must get permission from their parents and especially themselves," he said.
According to him, the local government spent 300 million to 400million yuan to provide free courses on technology and language for people going to work in other places.
Every year, a total of 100,000 migrant workers from south Xinjiang will be organized to work in other regions to earn more money.
Nur Bekri also denied sayings that promoting mandarin Chinese in the region was aimed to eliminate or replace ethnic languages.
"On the premise of learning their own languages well, it is very beneficial for ethnic people to learn mandarin and even a foreign language," he said, adding that in this way they will have more working opportunities.
Nur Bekri revealed that the Chinese government will spend a total of 3 billion yuan rebuilding the old town area of Kashgar, a key city on the silk road whose population is mostly of Uygur ethnic group.
He said most of the houses in the old town were made of brick-wood and were very unstable if an earthquake occurs. Also some residents live on high slopes and their houses may collapse at any time.
According to him, the rebuilding plan has already been approved by the UNESCO.
"We are fully capable of keeping the stability of Xinjiang," Nur Bekri added.