Party chief dismissed over China unrest

People's Armed Police units equipped with armored personnel carriers take positions in Urumqi on Saturday.
The Communist Party chief in the restive Chinese city of Urumqi was dismissed from his job Saturday after deadly protests over a series of syringe stabbings, state-run media reported.

The Xinhua news agency didn’t cite a reason for Li Zhi’s sacking. He was replaced by Zhu Hailun, secretary of the party in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in western China. Demonstrators clashed with police in Urumqi for two days amid a strange string of syringe stabbings. The protesters were demanding better police protection and a crackdown on ethnic Uyghurs, who are blamed for the attacks. The latest unrest left five people dead and 14 injured, according to Urumqi’s deputy mayor.

The city has been plagued by violence since July, when long-simmering ethnic tensions erupted into riots. The Han Chinese are the country’s dominant ethnic group; the Uyghurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority who consider Xinjiang their homeland.