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China Releases Names of Suspects in Xinjiang Riots

Chinese authorities have released the photos and names of 15 suspects allegedly involved in this month's unrest in Xinjiang. Meanwhile, China is disputing exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer's claim that 10,000 people are missing.

In an announcement read on state-run television in China, Xinjiang's public security bureau in Urumqi urged the 15 suspects to turn themselves in, even providing them with a telephone number to call.

The announcement said that those who turn themselves within the next 10 days would be tried with leniency. Those who do not, it added, would face severe punishment.

Authorities also released the names and photos of 40 individuals who have already been arrested for their alleged involvement in the riots, which officials say left nearly 200 people dead.

The release of the names and photos comes a day after exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer claimed as many as 10,000 people are missing in the wake of the unrest in Xinjiang.

Kadeer made her remarks during a visit to Japan, where she called for an international probe into the incident and urged China to hold talks with her group, the World Uighur Congress.

China has not responded to the request for talks.

But Chinese officials, quoted in government media, say Kadeer's claim 10,000 people are missing is groundless.

Human Rights Watch Asia researcher Phelim Kine says the discrepancy in numbers is why his group is calling for the Chinese government to allow an independent U.N. investigation into the incident.

"Both sides, the Chinese narrative and the narrative of the overseas Uighur groups, they lack independent verifiable documentation, so we really do not know, there is key data and key information about what really happened on July 5," said Kine.

Chinese authorities say in addition to those killed, more than 1,600 were injured in the unrest. Late Wednesday, authorities in Xinjiang said that 235 more suspects have been arrested, raising the official number of those in custody following the riots to more than 1,400.

The Uighurs make up about half the population of Xinjiang region, in northwestern China. They are mostly Muslims and are ethnically similar to communities in Central Asia. They have long complained the Beijing government discriminates against them and restricts their religious practices.

The government says there is a Uighur separatist insurgency in Xinjiang, and rejects complaints of discrimination.