26 Sep 2009

First charges laid over Xinjiang riots

5:41 pm on 26 September 2009

China has announced the first charges to be laid in connection with the violent unrest that shook the northwest region of Xinjiang in July.

The Xinhua news agency says 21 people have been charged with murder, arson, robbery and damaging property during ethnic riots that erupted in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi.

Nearly 200 people were killed during several days of rioting in the ethnically divided city, most from the Han Chinese majority. The Chinese government blames the rioting on members of the Muslim Uighur ethnic group.

The report says that six of the eight leading suspects appear to be Uighurs. Investigations are continuing.