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Xinjiang denies date set for unrest trials

The government in northwest China's Xinjiang region yesterday denied a report in the state media that more than 200 people would be put on trial this week over recent deadly ethnic unrest in the area.
On Monday, the state-run China Daily reported on its front page that the People's Intermediate Court in the regional capital Urumqi was preparing for the trials amid tight security.
"At present, there is no scheduled date for the trial," Li Hua, an official at the Xinjiang government media office, told AFP.
"I don't know how China Daily got that information, but it's not true. We will announce it to the media when there is a trial."
At least 197 people died in Urumqi in early July as members of the mainly Muslim Uighur minority clashed with Han Chinese in the worst ethnic unrest to hit the country in decades.
Li also denied that the number of defendants exceeded 200, a figure provided Monday in the China Daily report. Previous official statements put the number of people formally arrested at 83.
"We haven't received any official notice on a change in the number of the suspects. So currently, the number of suspects is still 83," he said.
In its report on Monday, the China Daily described stepped-up security in the area around the courthouse and quoted locals as saying they would closely follow the trials, which would be mostly open to the public.
An official with the Urumqi court contacted yesterday declined comment, while another staff member at the prosecutor's office said he knew nothing about the case, adding "a special investigation group" was in charge.
The China Daily reported on Monday that more than 170 Uighur and 20 Han lawyers had been assigned to handle the trials.