BEIJING:Riots in China's ethnically divided Xinjiang region on Wednesday left 27 people dead, according to state media which said police opened fire on “knife-wielding mobs”.

It was the latest spasm of violence to hit the troubled western region, which is about twice the size of Turkey and is home to around nine million members of the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority.

Police shot at “mobs” who had attacked police stations, a local government building and a construction site, the Xinhua news agency said, citing local officials.

“Seventeen people had been killed... before police opened fire and shot dead 10 rioters,” it said.

The mobs were also “stabbing at people and setting fire to police cars”, the report said.

Nine police or security guards and eight civilians were killed before police opened fire, the report said, adding that three other people were taken to hospital with injuries.

The clashes occurred early Wednesday in an area about 100 kilometres from the desert city of Turpan and about 250 kilometres from the regional capital Urumqi.

The reason for the violence was not immediately clear, and police in Turpan refused to comment when contacted by AFP.

Many of Xinjiang's Uighur community complain of religious and cultural repression by Chinese authorities, and the region is regularly hit by unrest.

Dilshat Rexit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, an exile group branded by Beijing as “separatist”, said “continued repression and provocation is the cause of conflict”. His comment came in a statement sent to AFP after news of the violence emerged.

China reported that 21 people died in clashes between police and locals in the region in April, which the government said were caused by “terrorists”.

Chinese authorities have often blamed such violence in the region on “terrorists”, and a court in Xinjiang recently jailed nine people for “religious extremism”.

China said clashes in 2011 that killed 19 were organised by terrorists who trained in Pakistan and were part of a separatist movement seeking an independent state in Xinjiang.

Uighur rights groups have dismissed the claims of terrorism, citing economic inequality and religious repression as causes of unrest.

The region's worst ethnic violence in recent years occurred in July 2009, when riots involving Uighurs and settlers from China's Han ethnic majority killed around 200 people in Urumqi.

Those clashes lead to a major security push in the region, which rights groups have said led to intense monitoring of Uighurs by security forces.

A specialised anti-terrorism unit of the People's Liberation Army carried out drills in April, according to a previous report by the PLA Daily.

The region saw more than half of China's trials for the charge of “endangering state security” last year, but is home to less than two per cent of the country's population, suggesting “ethnic discrimination”, the Dui Hua Foundation advocacy group said.

Beijing has launched a stream of high-profile investment projects in an attempt to boost economic growth in the relatively poor region, which has rich reserves of coal and gas.

According to official figures, 46 per cent of Xinjiang's population are Uighur, while another 39 per cent are Han Chinese, after millions from the majority group moved there in recent decades in search of jobs.

The Han settlement drive, which has been mirrored in Tibet, has fostered tensions with the existing community.

The Uighurs, who mostly follow Sunni Islam, speak a Turkic language and have ethnic links with groups in neighbouring countries including Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Xinjiang's regional government was not available for comment on Wednesday's violence.

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing that she was aware of reports, without giving further information.

Information about unrest in Xinjiang is tightly controlled by China's ruling Communist Party, and the government blocked Internet access across the region for several months following the clashes in 2009.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (27)

Rajiv Kaushal
June 26, 2013 2:56 pm

No Comments pakistan... after all our friend China is free to kill anyone... lets wait till someone get hurt in India and we would make all the noise..

June 26, 2013 3:39 pm

China said clashes in 2011 that killed 19 were organised by terrorists who trained in Pakistan........

No surprise here. Pakistan 's biggest foreign exchange earner is terrorism.

June 26, 2013 3:53 pm

I'm surprised that Pakistan and OIC remain silent on suppression of Muslims in China's Xinjiang region. China has successfully made the local people minority by shifting Han Chinese people to this region.

June 26, 2013 4:18 pm

Chinese authorities show us the way how to deal with terrorists.

June 26, 2013 4:59 pm

As the friendship with China is deeper than the oceans and higher than the mountains, Pakistan and Pakistanis shall not be commenting on this issue. In fact, Pakistan is the first nation to have helped China by solving it's border dispute with China by giving up the entire Aksai Chin region of Kashmir to China a few decades ago.

These issues of Xinjiang should not disturb this friendship - after all religion if opium of the masses, let Uighurs suffer for their foolishness of rejecting their han Chinese rulers and instead try and insist their religion is more important than their national duty.

Alley Riaz Khawaja
June 26, 2013 6:56 pm

It is another Extreme Right Wing attack on very straight forward and clear left wing Peoples Republic of China it is evident that the anti communist elements in Pakistan with financial and strategy guide are trying to destablize China, United States of America which has failed to tackle immense poverty in America and failure of capitalist policies plus anguish by losing hold in middle east is trying to level its loses, the elements involved should be labeled as hungry wolfs and shy foxes, they simply people with no barometer and values they simply paid agents of evil west which is trying to harp our friends most certainly my opinion is that Pakistan should join the ranks of hardline communist states which is the only way we can restore glory to Pakistan and the people of Pakistan we must not give an inch to such elements we such apprehend and prosecute such foreign agents we must not leave any stone unturned in the way of keeping socialist values alive if we only access the help we need to take back our occupied land we will realize the importance of economic and militarily ties with communist states India is today a very strong ally of united states and slowly reverting to a colony of west Russia is realizing this eagerly and is also turning its generous face away from the Indians Pakistan should avail this opportunity and develop strong Economic and Military ties with all such countries namely Cuba North Korea Syria Mozambique etc.

June 26, 2013 6:53 pm

Why we Muslims can't stay peacefully in any part of the World?

ahmad butt
June 26, 2013 7:02 pm

And the government of Islamic republic of Pakistan will never highlight this issue of sunni muslims being killed, as we cannot anger China.

June 26, 2013 7:43 pm

Very surprised to see no comments.

June 26, 2013 8:56 pm

Hey it is quite comments from Pak, when it happend in thailand everybody was crying, and now happend in China be loved of Pak, and no body reacted....this is differene b/w indian and Pak

June 26, 2013 9:15 pm

@Rajiv Kaushal: well said brother. Do you know that in china muslims are not allowed to keep fast during ramzan! Pakistan doesn't bother about muslim situation in china.

R U listening
June 26, 2013 9:31 pm

Saviors and supporters of muslims all over the world( the pakistanis) are surprisingly silent on this one.

JP Singh
June 26, 2013 10:07 pm

No one attacked the police stations -- they just shot the protesters. Its the Chinese way of putting across things and they blatanty expect the world to swallow all their lies.

HS Punjabi
June 26, 2013 11:49 pm

wow.....some how the life of a Muslim living in India is more valuable to Pakistan then the life of a Muslim living in crying.. no anti China protests, no call for Jihad support for Muslim brothers oppressed in communist China......... nothing....

raja hindustani
June 27, 2013 1:20 am

@Alok: Pakistan has exempted China. After all, CHINA is Pakistan's all weather friend ;)

June 27, 2013 1:20 am

The only page where the pakistanis are mute. Hard pill to swallow uh....

Vishnu Mahant
June 27, 2013 1:26 am

Anybody may have grievances, but demanding it by stabbing and killing is the wrong thing to do. I stand by Chinese law and order command.

June 27, 2013 2:12 am

Muslims cant live peacefully with people of other religions. So, china would either ask them to leave china, or exterminate them. Kinda like what Pakistan did with its Hindus. At the time of partition they had 10% hindus. Now its 1%.

June 27, 2013 2:33 am

I second many comments here from Indian folks though I am Pakistani. It certainly is a double standard - Uighers deserve same sympathy from Pakistan as Kashmiris if not more. Freindship with China does not mean we have to turn a blind eye to the massacre of Uigher Muslims and the illegitimate occupation of China of East Turkistan (currently Xinjiang under China). If occupation of Kashmir by India is illegetimite (which it is without any doubt) then the occupation of Uighers homeland by China is illegitimate by all means

June 27, 2013 6:06 am

Where is Muslim brotherhood now ? Now No Pakistani will shout anything, Had it been Kashmir everybody would have chanted slogan against India. Nobody cares Muslims dying in balochistan and China...

June 27, 2013 8:12 am

As pakistan is inviting srk(for being muslim) to settle down in pakistan... you must welcome muslims from China... After all they are all your brothers..

Mulla Ji
June 27, 2013 2:07 pm

@S.Qureshi: Answer is simple... because you are muslim....

June 27, 2013 3:01 pm

Either it is problem of muslims that they can't stay peacefully anywhere in the world or whole world is full of morons that they can't stay peacefully with muslims....

Sunil Sharma
June 27, 2013 4:35 pm

@Alley Riaz Khawaja: hahahahahaha

June 27, 2013 9:52 pm

@Simran: Well said " Pakistan doesn't bother about muslim situation in china". quite funny Pakistan always bother about only indian muslims like SRK? , China muslims are different? Is not it? shame to read this kind of statement.

June 27, 2013 9:53 pm

@Simran: Well said " Pakistan doesn't bother about muslim situation in china". quite funny Pakistan always bother about only indian muslims like SRK , China muslims are different? Is not it? shame to read this kind of statement

aziz ahmad
June 28, 2013 7:19 pm

@S.Qureshi: Because we are unaware of the real teachings of Islam. That ios more peaceful than any other religion.

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