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Sweden urged to pressure China on Uighur rights

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07:21 CEST+02:00
Uighur activits on Sunday urged Sweden to push China on minority rights as Vice President Xi Jinping visited the Nordic country.

The World Uighur Congress said in a statement that Sweden should "exercise

concrete pressure on the Chinese authorities so that they stop their brutal

aggression against the Uighur people."

Violence between Muslim Uighurs and China's ethnic Han majority exploded in the Xinjiang region's capital Urumqi last July, leaving nearly 200 dead and 1,700 injured, according to the government.

The congress claims nearly 1,000 people were killed and 3,000 arrested when the Chinese military forcefully repressed a peaceful protest.

It said "a number of Uighurs were sentenced to death" following the July 2009 violence.

The Chinese vice president arrived in Sweden on Saturday and was to meet Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, among others. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Earlier this month, a 62-year-old Uighur man who had been living in Sweden was sentenced by a Stockholm court to 16 months in prison for spying on expatriates from the mainly Muslim minority.

Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Central Asian people residing in northwest China's volatile Xinjiang region, have accused Beijing for decades of religious, cultural and political oppression - claims the government denies.

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