URUMQI, July 8 (Xinhua) -- China's top police officer on Wednesday urged no leniency in the punishment of thugs who took part in the Urumqi riot.
Meng Jianzhu, state councilor and public security minister, made the remarks when visiting local residents injured by the rioters and family members of those victims in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Meng Jianzhu (C), China's state councilor and public security minister, visits a man injured in the July 5 riot, at the People's Hospital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Urumqi, capital of the region in northwest China, July 8, 2009. (Xinhua/Wang Fei)
In the July 5 riot at least 156 people died and more than 1,000 were injured.
Leading rioters should be punished with the utmost severity and those taking part in the riot, who were provoked and cheated by separatists, should be given persuasion and education, Meng said.
Commissioned by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, Meng also visited local police officers and members of the Armed Police personnel and mourned for the victims.
Meng Jianzhu (R), China's state councilor and public security minister, visits policemen in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 8, 2009. (Xinhua/Wang Fei)
Meng said that adequate evidence proved that the riot was masterminded and remotely controlled by overseas separatists and it was a serious struggle to maintain national unity against separatism.
In visiting the injured at the People's Hospital of the region, Meng asked the medical staff to try all means to save the innocent people, and the local government should give necessary support and aid to the residents whose properties were damaged in the riot.
To those households whose family members were killed in the riot, the government should provide compensation as soon as possible, he said.
Meng also went to the city square and communities to meet residents, saying all ethnic people living in Xinjiang had made great contribution to the region's stability and prosperity.
He called on residents of all ethnic groups to be united after the riot since the intention of the separatists who plotted the riot was to stir up racial confrontations.
Accompanied by Xinjiang Communist Party chief Wang Lequan and regional government chairman Nur Bekri, Meng also visited the wife and parents of Wan Jingang, a member of the Armed Police killed by rioters on July 5. Meng praised Wan's bravery and sacrifice.