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Residents in Aba County Return to Normal Life After Riot

Residents in the Tibetan-resided Aba County in southwest China's Sichuan Province are returning to normal life after severe violence on March 16.

On Sunday, about 90 percent of the shops on major streets in Aba, a county in Sichuan's northwestern part, were open for business.

Restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and hair dressers' were reopened about a week after the riot. Compared to the past few days, more private cars and cabs came back on the streets. Workers in supermarkets were busy trucking in bottled water, staple foods and other commodities.

The Aba County, which sits 3,300 meters above sea level with a population of more than 60,000, was ravaged by an unrest that erupted on March 16.

Violent mobs, some shouting Tibetan independence slogans and holding flags of the so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile", stormed into and attacked government offices, police stations, hospitals, schools and banks. Most shops and markets in the county were ransacked.

Xiao Haiyun, owner of a cosmetics shop on the downtown Qiatang street, said rioters burnt up her shop, and robbed almost everything she had. "They robbed not only the valuables like jewelries, but also my clothes, everything," she said, adding that she lost more than 300,000 yuan.

On Sunday, Xiao hired people to clean and truck away broken glasses, wracked shelves and charred wreckages left from the commotion.

"Now I'm still deeply worried, but we have to face up to what happened and our life has to go on," she said.

As order returns to the county, the local government is tallying up losses.

Kang Qingwei, the county's Communist Party chief, said middle and elementary schools, which were suspended after the riot, would resume classes on Monday.

(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2008)

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