World News

Russia says China Xinjiang riots internal affair

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Wednesday put its support firmly behind China, saying violent clashes in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang were a purely internal affair.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has abandoned plans to attend a G8 summit in Italy, returning home early to deal with ethnic violence that has killed at least 156 in Xinjiang.

“Using separatist slogans and provoking ethnic intolerance, the initiators of the disorder attacked citizens and beat them, turned over cars and torched them and looted shops and other buildings,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We would like to confirm that Russia views the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region as an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China and considers that events there are purely the internal affair of China,” the foreign ministry said.

“We hope that the actions, which taken within the bounds of the law, by the Chinese authorities to support order in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region will allow the situation to be swiftly normalised,” the ministry said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed his condolences to the relatives of those killed during a phone conversation on Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart Jang Jiechi, the ministry stated in a separate release.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge