|China's parliament spokesman says Xinjiang is stable|
BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The situation in China's remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is stable, a parliament spokesman said Thursday, eight months after a deadly riot in the regional capital of Urumqi.
"Comprehensive progress has been made in Xinjiang's economic and social development, and the people's living standards have been rising steadily," said Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the Third Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, at a press conference prior to the opening of the NPC annual session.
"Ethnic relationships featuring equality, solidarity, mutual assistance and harmony are being consolidated and developed," he said.
The July 5 riot in Urumqi last year left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 others injured.
"That incident was not an ethnic or religious problem, it was actually a serious criminal behavior involving beating, smashing, looting and arson, which was masterminded by three 'evil forces' both inside and outside China," he said.
"That incident inflicted heavy losses in life and property of people of all ethnic groups."
Li said China, as a large country, will inevitably encounter various challenges, including external challenges, in the course of peaceful development.
"But we have every confidence in the prospect of the peaceful development of our great motherland," he said.