Ethnic Strife

Tensions Settle in China

Two high officials were fired and doctors' reassurances relieved residents Sunday in Urumqi, China where a rash of needle attacks had raised considerable fear. The city, located in a rural region in the west of China, has been the site of clashes between Han Chinese and a minority group, the Uighurs, for much of the summer. Tens of thousands of Han Chinese protested local officials, saying they were not ensured security following the needle attacks. In July, nearly 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, were killed during rioting in the city. Rumors raged in Urumqi that the needles carried AIDS. Said one Uighur merchant about the city's tension: "Han are the majority here and there aren't very many of us to begin with, and when you walk down the street the Han look at us with such hatred and suspicion. They might beat us up. For the past few days I didn't dare leave my home."