August 25, 2010 / 12:25 PM / 9 years ago

China detains four over attack on Xinjiang police

BEIJING, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Four people have been detained for a deadly attack on Chinese military police last week in the far western region of Xinjiang, state media reported on Wednesday.

In announcing the arrests, public security officials also vowed to crack down "relentlessly" on criminal activities in the region that has long been the scene of ethnic tension and violence.

A member of the Uighur minority rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a group of police and paramilitary guards at a highway intersection near the city of Aksu last week, the first such attack in China since 2008.

Six people died and 15 were injured, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Six people were involved in the attack, but two had died in carrying it out, Xinhua reported, citing a police spokesman.

"The public security authorities will crack down on violent criminal activities in all forms relentlessly and punish those criminals according to law," the unnamed spokesman was quoted as saying.

Many Uighurs — a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people native to the region — chafe under rule from Beijing and restrictions on their language, culture and religion.

They now make up less than half of Xinjiang’s population after decades of immigration by the majority Han from other parts of China.

Beijing often blames what it calls violent separatist groups in Xinjiang for attacks on police or other government targets, saying they work with al Qaeda or Central Asian militants to bring about an independent state called East Turkestan. (Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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