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Special> Focus on Xinjiang> Latest News
UPDATED: July 13, 2009
Emotional Pain Lingers as Families Claim Bodies

Though the riot in west China's Urumqi is quelled, heartbreak lingers as those who lost their loved ones in the violence strive to find the missing persons or claim the bodies.

Monday's China Daily reported that tearful families of the victims are registering details of the missing or deceased at the "Office for the Aftermath of the July 5 Riot", which was set up at the city's Huanqiu Hotel.

The tearful parents of Xu Yang, a girl who went missing after the riot, were reported to be describing their daughter to a volunteer at the Huanqiu Exhibition Centre in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Wang Jianfang, a 30-year-old Hui minority woman, said, "This is too unfair. Why did this happen to us?" Her brother Wang Changsheng, 36, a transport worker, was stabbed to death by rioters.

Barely able to speak through her sobs, Wang said she now fears for her family's survival because her brother was the main breadwinner.

"How could the rioters do such inhumane things?" she wailed.

Wang's family must wait for the results of a DNA test before they can claim the body. Wang said she only hopes that her brother can be buried according to Muslim practices as soon as possible so he can rest in peace.

The city's two funeral homes designated for victims of the riot, the No. 2 Funeral Home and the Yan'erwo Funeral Home, have been running at full capacity.

A member of staff at the No 2 Funeral Home, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told China Daily that its 126 freezers were full, most with victims of the July 5 violence.

"I can't describe the mood of the victims' families when they come to claim the bodies," the staff member said. "How can they accept their loved ones' deaths in such a way? All of our staff cried with them."

Colleagues of one victim said that the victim's family lives in another province and some still do not know about the death.

According to the Xinjiang People's Radio, 63 bodies had been claimed by Sunday morning.

Funeral homes said they had waived most charges for the victims' families, including fees for freezing, washing, makeup and transportation.

In addition to 200,000 yuan (about $30,000) consolation money to each victim's family, the Urumqi government gave each family 10,000 yuan to cover funeral costs.

(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2009)

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