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Page last updated at 04:35 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 05:35 UK

Man held over China ethnic clash

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Chinese police have detained a man who they say sparked a deadly ethnic clash at a toy factory in southern China.

China's official news agency Xinhua said the man had posted a message on a local website claiming six Xinjiang boys has "raped two innocent girls".

Police say the false claim sparked a vicious brawl between Han and Uighur ethnic groups at the Guangdong factory.

Officials have encouraged the hiring of Uighurs from Xinjiang, in an effort to reduce regional income gaps in China.

Most jobs in China's export-oriented coastal zones are done by members of the majority Han ethnic group.

Tough fight

The fight took place in Shaoguan city, Guangdong province, and saw both sides wielding iron bars, leaving two Uighurs dead and 118 people injured.

About 600 Uighur workers are now living in temporary accommodation away from the factory.

Migrant workers sitting on the ground
Migrant workers in China often lead insecure lives

About half the injured people have left the hospital; 60 with more serious wounds are still receiving treatment, two of them in critical condition.

Xinhua said that a former worker, surnamed Zhu, "faked the information to express his discontent" over failing to find new work after quitting his job at the factory.

The factory belongs to Early Light International (Holdings), owned by a Hong Kong tycoon.

Plant officials hired 800 migrant workers last month through labour authorities in Kashgar, Xinjiang, a government press release said.



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