Beijing – Authorities in China’s restive Xinjiang will install tens of thousands of security cameras in the regional capital Urumqi, which was rocked by deadly ethnic riots in 2009, official media said on Tuesday.
State media last year announced plans for thousands of cameras in the city but Tuesday’s report by the official Xinhua news agency said the campaign would be extended to cover the entire city.
At total of 17 000 cameras were installed in 2010 on streets, buses, schools, shopping malls and other public areas, it said. Reports in July 2010 had said that as many as 40 000 cameras were already in operation at the time.
Bloody violence erupted in July 2009 between the region’s Muslim ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s majority Han population.
The government says nearly 200 people were killed and about 1 700 injured in the unrest, China’s worst ethnic violence in decades, the majority of them Han Chinese.
Xinjiang, a vast, arid but resource-rich region that borders Central Asia, is home to more than eight million Uighurs, a Muslim minority of Turkish origin.
Many Uighurs complain over what they say has been decades of repressive communist rule by Beijing while others say an influx of Han is leaving them economically and culturally marginalised in their homeland.
Authorities have ramped up already tight security in Xinjiang since the 2009 violence, while also promising to boost development to ease Uighur anger.