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Jul 09, 2009 at 04:14pm IST

Hu vows severe punishment over Xinjiang riots

Beijing: Ethnic clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese in Xinjiang, China continue. The riots have claimed the lives of 160 people and have left 1,000 injured.

Chinese President Hu Jintao vowed "severe punishment" for the perpetrators of the Xinjiang riots that left at least 160 people dead and over 1,000 injured, a statement said on Thursday.

Hu on Wednesday night presided over a meeting of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) standing committee of the politburo of the central committee.

TAKING CHARGE: Hu Jintao vowed "severe punishment" for the perpetrators of the Xinjiang riots.

Stability in Xinjiang is the "most important and pressing task", according to a statement issued on Thursday.

Hu cut short his trip to Europe due to the situation in Xinjiang and arrived in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Chinese - while cracking down - have now asked Islamabad to investigate links with the Muslim minority groups. A white paper issued by Beijing said that a number of Xinjiang militants have trained in Pakistani camps.

And now China wants Pakistan as well as Afghanistan and the US to help unearth links between their citizens and the Uighurs.

Meanwhile, pro-Uighur groups have demonstrated their solidarity in Europe. In Ankara, black wreaths were laid outside the Chinese embassy, while in Paris there were demonstrations at the Eiffel Tower.