Beijing: Fifteen people have been killed and 14 others wounded in a “terrorist attack” in China’s mostly Muslim populated region, Xinjiang, officials said on Saturday.
Chinese paramilitary police stand guard in Urumqi — the capital of the Muslim Uighur region of Xinjiang. file photo
A group of terrorists launched an attack on civilians on Friday in Shache county, leaving four people dead and 14 wounded. Eleven “terrorists” were also shot dead during the violence.
Around 1.30 pm on Friday, men armed with knives threw explosives and attacked crowds on commercial street. The police, who was patrolling the area killed 11 of the attackers. Explosives, knives and axes were seized at the scene. The wounded were evacuated and taken to hospital.
Situated 200 kilometres from the regional capital of Kashgar, the district of Shache — or Yarkand in the Uighur language — was the scene of violent clashes in July this year, shortly before the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Police officers then killed dozens of attackers who were attacking civilians and pvehicles.
The fresh unrest underscores the deterioration of the situation in Xinjiang, where Beijing has launched a severe crackdown in recent months with dozens of executions officially announced and hundreds of arrests, followed by speedy mass trials and the public exhibition of so-called “terrorists”.
Xinjiang is frequently hit by unrest sparked by fierce tensions between China’s ethnic Han majority and the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs, with authorities regularly blaming Uighur militants for the violence.
Some Uighurs in the north west Chinese region are hostile to Beijing’s leadership.
They say they are victims of discrimination and left out of the benefits of the development in Xinjiang, which has seen an influx of Han Chinese moving in from other parts of the country. Experts and human rights activists say that repressive policies regarding religion and culture adopted by Beijing have fuelled conflict in the region.