Vehicles packed with Chinese security forces rolled back into Urumqi on Thursday, but there were tentative signs of life returning to normal in the restive city, AFP reporters witnessed.
Long convoys of trucks emblazoned with slogans such as "Smash the separatists" and "Bring peace to the city" rumbled through the main streets of northwest Xinjiang's regional capital, where at least 156 people died in unrest here on Sunday.
On Thursday morning, sirens and loudspeakers blared out from vehicles, and armed troops remained at barricades although there was a noticeable reduction in troops in some of the Uighur areas, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
More shops were open than in previous days, although some residents doubted calm would be restored quickly.
"How can it return to normal with so many soldiers?" said one woman, who only gave her name as Li. She said she had counted more than 40 military trucks.
Following Sunday's deadly unrest that also left more than 1,000 people injured, there have been sporadic but sometimes violent clashes between Han mobs and Uighurs.
One man, Cheng, who works in a pharmacy, said he was heading back to work.
"We will open at 9:30 am. The government said to take three days off, so we will open today," he told AFP.