Urumqi (China), Sep. 8 (ANI): Authorities in riot-hit Chinese city of Urumqi have announced that those found spreading rumours will be jailed.
In order to maintain peace between fighting Han Chinese and Uighur groups, police has also threatened that needle attackers would be liable to death penalty.
"Those who deliberately concoct and spread false information about innocent members of the public being stabbed with needles could be jailed for five years or more," police was quoted as saying.
Rumors that minority Uighurs had been attacking Han Chinese had swept the Xinjiang capital for days.
Anxiety and anger at the government's handling of the alleged incidents has prompted people to demand resignation of Wang Lequan, Communist party leader of the far-western region of Xinjiang.
Wang has kept his job, but the Urumqi party secretary was fired Saturday, along with the region's police chief.
"It was not the protests that brought them down, it was their failure to meet the protests. When individuals fail in their performance they get sacked," the Christian Science Monitor quoted political analyst Russell Leigh Moses, as saying.
While 531 people have gone to hospitals complaining of having been stabbed, only 20 percent of them show any signs of puncture marks, according to official media.
Fur Uighurs have been convicted of syringe assaults.
A total of 197 - almost all of them ethnic Han - were killed July 5 violent protest by Uighurs, who have long complained that they are treated like second class citizens in their own homeland. (ANI)