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China to train officials to handle riots, disasters

world Updated: Jul 31, 2009 12:18 IST

Reuters
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China plans to train officials to handle riots and natural disasters in the wake of a deadly outbreak of ethnic violence and incidents of unrest over corruption and pollution, a newspaper said on Friday.

Zhu Lijia, a professor from the Communist Party administrative school that will host the one-week course, said training would "help grass-roots cadres better handle emergencies and avoid lax and worsening management," the Southern Metropolitan Daily reported.

Security services registered 80,000 "mass incidents", China's term for protests involving more than five people, in 2007, the most recent year for which state media have published a figure.

Corruption, polluting factories and illegal land seizures have stoked violence for years, and the global financial crisis has raised tensions over employment.

The central government is nervous about any kind of protests or challenge to its authority, especially this year which marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.

A senior Chinese official made a rare admission on Thursday that the country had to change its policies towards minorities after nearly 200 people died in rioting between Han Chinese and Uighurs in restive Xinjiang earlier this month.

The official Xinhua agency in an unusually harsh commentary earlier this week blamed incompetent officials for incidents of mass unrest like a steel plant protest last week in which an executive was beaten to death.

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