GENEVA - Last year's unrest in Tibet and July's violence in Xinjiang were instigated by separatists abroad, China told a United Nations human rights hearing Friday.
"Facts have fully shown that the two incidents were premeditated and organised crimes of violence, directed and instigated by separatists abroad and carried out by separatists inside China," said Duan Jielong, who led a 30-strong Chinese delegation attending a UN examination on China's record on eliminating racial discrimination.
Duan accused the "separatists" of "creating ethnic splits and hatred, undermining... harmonious development in ethnic minority areas and undermining national unity and territorial integrity."
He told the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: "These violent crimes not only gravely violated Chinese law, but also gravely violated the purposes and principles of the Convention."
The government had taken "prompt action according to law" to stop these acts and was supported by Chinese people of "all ethnic groups," said Duan.
It had the "confidence and capacity to ... unite all ethnic groups," he added.
During the hearing, some members of the UN committee sought more information on how China is dealing with the two minority populations in the wake of the unrest.
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, who is the special rapporteur on the issue, called on China to detail measures on the treatment of those detained following the Tibet unrest.
He also called on China to treat over 1,000 suspects held over the Xinjiang unrest according to "international human rights standards."
Meanwhile, another member of the committee Dilip Lahiri noted that economic investments in the ethnic minority regions may have not benefited the minorities but instead had gone to the Han settlers in the regions.
"The change in the demographic balance brought about by the Han settlers... and their securing the lion's share of government investments is one of the primary causes of unrest among China's ethnic minorities," he said.
"Action by the government to address this trend is imperative," he added.
Other committee members also asked about the teaching of ethnic minority languages in schools and issues surrounding religious freedom.
The Chinese delegation is scheduled to reply to the questions when the hearing reconvenes Monday.
Beijing has said that at least 197 people were killed and more than 1,600 injured in the July 5 unrest in the capital of Xinjiang, Urumqi, which pitted minority Uighurs against members of China's dominant Han ethnic group.
Uighurs say the unrest was touched off when security forces responded violently to peaceful protests over a brawl at a factory in southern China that state media said had left two Uighur workers dead.
The government meanwhile, has accused Uighurs, most of whom are Muslim, of going on a rampage against Han Chinese in Urumqi.
The violence in Xinjiang came a year after riots in Tibet that broke out after monks led peaceful protests to mark a 1959 uprising. The unrest later spread across the Tibetan plateau.
On Thursday, exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama told journalists in Geneva that China's policies towards its ethnic minorities had failed to foster trust over the last six decades and need to be reviewed.
"After 60 years, their policies basically failed to ... bring trust," he said, and the time had come to carry out a "scientific review of the policies."