Violence in Chinese province home to Uighurs
BEIJING — Violent clashes in China's far-west province of Xinjiang, home to the Turkic-speaking Uighur minority, reportedly left 21 people dead in what official media described on Wednesday as fighting between “suspected terrorists and authorities.”
The state Xinhua news wire said that among the dead were 15 field staff and police officers, in addition to six “suspects.” That story and an account carried by a government-run website in Xinjiang said the confrontation was sparked Tuesday after three official “community workers” reported the presence of knives and suspicious people in a house in Bachu County, which is about 750 miles southwest of the provincial capital of Urumqi.
While official outlets blamed the bloodshed on a series of events that began with the kidnapping of the trio of community workers, the Xinjiang website referred to the alleged attackers as thugs and as people planning terrorist activities.
A Uighur exile activist group gave a different version.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress, which uses an alternate spelling for the minority group, wrote in an email that the conflict Tuesday was fueled by the police shooting and killing a young Uighur man, whose age isn't yet known. Raxit also said the area had since been locked down by a “large amount of armed personnel.”
Many Uighurs in Xinjiang complain that Beijing's policies are, at the least, discriminatory toward their culture and Islamic faith. The province was the scene of brutal clashes in 2009 between Uighurs and members of the nation's majority Han Chinese community, which by official account ended in 197 deaths, mostly of Han Chinese.
Beijing frequently blames violence in the region on separatist terrorist groups that receive foreign backing. Uighurs in Xinjiang, on the other hand, describe an oppressive environment that includes security forces ruling with iron-fisted impunity and an influx of Han Chinese displacing their communities and business interests.
“Have some components of the Uighur ethno-national movement used and espoused violence at times? Yes. Have there been anti-state and terrorist (targeting indiscriminately civilians) attacks over the years? Yes,” Nicholas Bequelin, senior researcher in the Asia division of New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in an email exchange.
But, he added: “Given the fact that the Chinese government systematically conflates non-state-sanctioned religious activities with religious extremism, and dissent with separatism and both with terrorism, it's impossible to ascertain the veracity of the claims of the government in matters of terrorism.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Dozens dead in gunfight on Mexico ranch
- Ireland voters expected to OK gay marriage
- ISIS solidifies grip on Syrian town of Palmyra
- Eiffel Tower temporarily shut down as employees walk out
- Mexicans pin hopes on anti-corruption measures approved by Congress
- Italy’s migrant count likely to surpass 2014’s
- French President Hollande urges U.S. to end Cuba embargo
- U.S. commandos kill senior IS commander in Syria raid
- Army commando team kills senior Islamic State official in Syria raid
- Islamic State terrorists tighten grip on Ramadi, Iraq, execute opponents
- Contested Iraqi city of Ramadi falls to Islamic State group