China's troubled Xinjiang hit by more violence: state media

BEIJING Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:42pm EDT

Armed police officers stand guard near the international grand bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 29, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo

Armed police officers stand guard near the international grand bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

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BEIJING (Reuters) - More than a hundred people, riding motorbikes and wielding knives, attacked a police station in China's ethnically divided western region of Xinjiang, state media said on Saturday, in the latest unrest to hit the region in the past week.

The attack in the remote desert city of Hotan, a heavily ethnic Uighur area, comes two days after the region's deadliest unrest in four years that resulted in the deaths of 35 people. China called the incident a "terrorist attack".

Xinjiang is home to the mainly Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language. Many of them chafe at what they call Chinese government restrictions on their culture, language and religion. China says it grants Uighurs wide-ranging freedoms and accuses extremists of separatism.

The animosity between the majority Han Chinese and the Uighurs poses a major challenge for China's Communist Party leaders. President Xi Jinping, who took office in March, has called for the unity of all ethnic groups in China.

In the latest incident, the Global Times - owned by Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily - said "troublemakers" gathered at religious venues before riding on motorcycles to attack a police station in the city's Moyu county.

Authorities are counting the number of casualties and searching for suspects, the Global Times said.

In a separate incident, some 200 people attempted to "incite trouble" at a major shopping area in Hotan, the newspaper said. It said police defused the situation.

Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's inner circle, pledged to step up "action to crack down upon terrorist groups and extremist organizations" at a meeting with government officials in the regional capital Urumqi, state news agency Xinhua said.

Chinese authorities have increased security in Urumqi, the Global Times said.

Photographs on Chinese microblogs showed dozens of military trucks with riot police patrolling the streets.

The increased security comes almost a week before the fourth anniversary of the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang that pitted Uighurs against ethnic Chinese, resulting in nearly 200 people being killed.

In a sign of the gravity of the situation, Xinjiang's top party chief Zhang Chunxian said: "We should be clearly aware of the complex and acute nature of the long-term struggle against separatism," according to the Xinjiang Daily, the official newspaper of the region.

"For those who dare to defy the law, the criminals who engage in violent terrorist activities have to be punished. We can't tolerate them, we have to hold no punches," the People's Daily said in a front-page editorial.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Alison Williams)

(This story was corrected to fix the spelling of knives in the first paragraph)

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Comments (2)
AussieinChina wrote:
When Reuters (and others) reported the hacking to death of one British soldier by Islamic extremists it was a plain ordinary terrorist attack.

But when 24 Uygur and Chinese are hacked to death again by Islamic extremists wearing T-shirts emblazened with the emblem of the ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement), Reuters reports it as a punctuated “terrorist attack”.

Could Reuters explain why Terrorist attacks by the ETIM a party “closely affiliated” with the WUC (World Uygur Congress) and listed as a terrorist movement by the governments of China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, the US State Department, the EU and the United Nations warrant the use of inverted commas?

Jun 29, 2013 11:29pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Oro_Invictus wrote:
@ AussieinChina

Because, for the most part, foreign reporters and observers weren’t prevented from investigating and reporting on the matter themselves with the British soldier?

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty who would label terrorism “unrest” and vice versa, but when you prevent independent observers from entering regions in which such turmoil strikes and rigorously censor any material which doesn’t toe the party line? Makes it more than a little hard to accept what the CPC is saying, especially when those few reports that do escape almost always tend to lie in direct contradiction to their official statements.

Of course, if you could provide something along the lines of independently verified pictures and/or video of said individuals wearing such shirts and attacking people completely unprovoked then, by all means, please feel justified to condemn Reuters and others for placing the term ‘terrorists’ in quotation marks.

Jun 30, 2013 2:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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