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11november20095The Chinese News Service on Monday reported that nine people have been executed for taking part in ethnic rioting in the western Chinese regional capital of Urumqi on July 5 this year. The news comes in the wake of four Tibetans being put to death on Oct 20, near the Tibetan capital Lhasa, for their alleged role in the March 2008 uprising.

The Chinese internet report gave no further details of the latest executions, except to say that the cases had all been reviewed by the Supreme People's Court. The information was taken offline early on Tuesday.

The ethnicity of those executed is unclear - the report simply called them "criminals" - but the rioting in Urumqi was largely carried out by Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking people who mostly follow Sunni Islam and are the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang region.

Many Uighurs resent what they call discrimination by Han, the dominant ethnic group in China.

Human rights advocates have criticized the Chinese government's handling of the aftermath of the rioting and, on Monday, the US government added its voice to the protests.

"The US government continues to urge China to handle all detentions and judicial processes relating to the Urumqi violence in a transparent manner," said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

"We also urge China to ensure that the legal rights of all Chinese citizens are respected in accordance with international standards of due process."

US President Barack Obama will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing on November 16th and 17th, and faces increasing pressure to address China's human rights record.

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