Xinjiang violence 15 reported killed in attack

Attack in Western China Leaves at Least 15 People Dead

HONG KONG — The police in Xinjiang, the volatile region of western China, shot dead 11 members of a gang who killed four people and wounded 14 in an attack on a street lined with restaurants and food stalls, official Chinese media said Saturday.

Shache County mapThe assailants drove to the site of the attack in Shache County on Friday afternoon, then lobbed explosives into the street and slashed people, said Xinhua, the official news agency, citing Xinjiang government officials. Police officers on patrol nearby shot the attackers, Xinhua said, and recovered detonation devices, broadswords and hatchets at the scene. The report did not say if any of the attackers survived.

The Xinhua report called the perpetrators “thugs” and did not remark on their motives or describe their ethnicity, noting that the authorities were still investigating the attack. But almost invariably the Chinese government has ascribed similar attacks in the past to ethnic Uighur separatists and Islamic militants seeking to turn Xinjiang into an independent homeland.

Advocates of Uighur self-determination, however, have said the Chinese Communist Party’s own policies that repress Uighur religious life and autonomy have exacerbated tensions between Uighurs and the Han majority. More than 400 people have been killed in unrest across Xinjiang over the last year, many by members of the security forces.

uighur dogu_turkistanda_dini_mesaj_gondermek_ihanet_1417535144_4997Shache County, also called Yarkand by Uighurs, is in southwest Xinjiang, a part of the region where Uighurs outnumber Han residents and other ethnic groups, and where there is deep Uighur resentment of government policies and Han migrants. According to government statistics, 96 percent of Shache County’s 800,000 residents are Uighur, 3 percent are Han and 1 percent belong to other ethnicities.

Last month, a Chinese court sentenced 12 people to death after finding them guilty of “terrorist attacks” in Shache in July that killed 37 people. During the mayhem, 59 other people, later described by the authorities as terrorists, were shot dead by the police. But Uighur exile groups have described the episode as a massacre and said that those killed included demonstrators protesting against tightened restrictions on their Islamic religious practices.

At Least a Dozen Killed, 100 Wounded in Bugur Riots in Xinjiang     uighur

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