Hundreds arrested in China

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CHINA HAS tightened its grip on the north-western province of Xinjiang, transferring a team of crack troops to a city rocked by riots in 1997 and arresting hundreds of suspected "terrorists" and religious militants.

Some 1,000 troops were transferred to Yining city, the capital of Xinjiang's Yili region, last month, the Xinjiang Legal Daily said yesterday.

Xinjiang, home to Turkish-speaking Uighurs, has been rocked by rioting since the mid-Nineties. Muslim Uighur militants have agitated for an independent East Turkestan in Xinjiang, which borders Afghanistan, Pakistan and three former Soviet republics.

Yesterday, Amnesty International accused Peking of stepping up persecution of Uighurs. (Reuters)