Chinese Prez Ditches G8 to Grapple With Ethnic Crisis

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2009 2:35 AM CDT
A Han Chinese man carries a spiked steel bar while using his cell phone to take photos as he joins a mob of Han Chinese men attacking Uighur properties in Urumqi yesterday.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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(Newser) – Chinese President Hu Jintao abandoned plans to attend the G8 summit and returned to China from Italy to deal with growing unrest in Xinjiang after some 160 people were killed in riots there, the Financial Times reports. Troops have flooded into the provincial capital, Urumqi, in a bid to restore order and enforce a curfew—but mobs of Han Chinese and Muslim Uighurs continue to roam the street carrying makeshift weapons.

Hu had been expected to play a major role at the G8 summit, especially discussions about replacing the dollar as the world's reserve currency. G8 leaders had planned to discuss their concerns about violence in Xinjiang at the summit. The Organization of Islamic States has expressed its "deep concern" about the "disproportionate force" used in the region, and offered its help in restoring peace.