Fri, Jul 10, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Government decries Xinjiang violence

By Shih Hsiu-Chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Executive Yuan yesterday decried the violence in China’s Xinjiang region and called on Chinese authorities to handle the situation with more tolerance.

Executive Yuan spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) quoted Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) as telling yesterday’s weekly Cabinet meeting: “We regret the communal violence in the Urumqi area in the past few days and are concerned about the heavy casualties resulting from the incident.”

“Zhonghua minzu [中華民族, Chinese people] are people who stand firmly for all ethnicities coexisting in harmony. In accordance with the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, of which both Taiwan and the mainland are signatories, people have freedom of belief, religion, assembly and association,” Su quoted Liu as saying. “Those are basic rights and universal values.”

It was the first time Liu had commented on the unrest that started on Sunday.

Liu refused to answer media queries on the crackdown on protesters on Tuesday, saying that he did not have sufficient information on the situation.

He urged the Chinese military and other parties to keep calm and exercise restraint and demanded that Chinese authorities protect Taiwanese and their property in China, Su said.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has continued to stay silent on the issue.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said the Mainland Affairs Council would address the situation instead of Ma.

The council issued a statement yesterday, calling on all parties to remain calm and communicate with each other in a peaceful and rational manner.

It also reminded Chinese authorities that social stability could be maintained only on the basis of upholding human rights.

The council expressed the hope that China would accelerate reforms in line with the two UN-sponsored human rights covenants.

“Only through reform and progress on all fronts, not just economic growth, can a harmonious society be achieved,” the council said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MO YAN-CHIH AND CNA

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