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Riot shall not stop Xinjiang's developing steps
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At this time of the year, Xinjiang enters its most beautiful season, when people expect the harvesting of its famous Manaizi grapes, tourism booms and there are flourishing cultural and trade events. But this July the world has been shocked by a deadly riot in its capital Urumqi.

The wreckage of burnt cars, broken windows, dead bodies on the streets and the moans of the injured attested to the brutal Sunday night when 156 people were killed and more than a thousand injured. Subsequent sporadic gatherings by either ethnic Uygur or the Han Chinese gave a clue as to how intricate and sensitive the situation there had been.

Initial investigations attributed the brutal violence to the separatist World Uyghur Congress led by Rebiya Kadeer, who is using terrorism, and separatism to destroy Xinjiang's stability and prosperity.

In her interview with foreign media, Kadeer made an open denial of the accusation and continued to decry the Chinese government to instigate the hatred of ethnic Uygur people toward the country.

Everyone, who has ever been to the region or has some knowledge of it, will agree that the remotest and largest region of China has witnessed constant development over the decades.

Resources-rich, the region has been an active player in the country's Great West Development Campaign launched in 2001. The 21 million local residents have found their living standards steadily improving.

Just look at the following figures. The region's poverty-stricken population had been halved to 2.5 million at the end of last year compared with that of 30 years ago. Farmers' annual net income rose from 119 yuan(about 17 U.S. dollars) in 1978 to 3,197 yuan(468 U.S. dollars) in 2007. More than 95 percent of households in remote areas have TVs.

The region's gross domestic product quadrupled to 400 billion yuan in 2008 compared with 1997, with per-capita ranking 11th in the country.

Thanks to the development of the Tarim oilfield in southern Xinjiang, more than 300,000 farmers and herdsmen in 24 counties have gained access to clean natural gas as fuel in the past few years, ending their decades-old dependence on firewood for cooking.

Yes, the region remains economically backward if compared to the developed eastern coast. But there is no other way to project the region to faster prosperity except through stability and solidarity. Violence and terrorism will only destroy.

In an attack last year, two terrorists, armed with guns, explosives, knives and axes, drove a heavy truck into a team of more than 70 police in a regular morning exercise in Kashgar on August 4. Seventeen people were killed and 15 injured in the attack, just four days before the Beijing Olympics.

Like terrorists elsewhere, those who orchestrated the catastrophe have vicious intentions: That is to create turmoil, and spread fear and hatred.

Taking a glimpse of the casualties, one would instantly sense the gravity of the immediate losses. But that is not all. With businesses closed, residents taking shelters outside the region and agencies canceling their tour routes to Xinjiang, the local economy has already started to feel the pinch.

It's too early to assess the economic and social repercussions of the incident. But history tells us time and again that without love, compassion and tolerance, the seeds of hatred will shoot up. As a result, peace will be engulfed while the people will fall into the abyss of agony. If that misfortune happened, nobody would suffer more than the innocent people.

(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2009)

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