Riots in Xinjiang leave at least 12 dead
BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
An ethnic Uighur woman protests with child in hand in this file photo. AFP photoRiots in the volatile Chinese region of Xinjiang left at least 12 people dead yesterday, state news agency Xinhua reported, in the latest unrest to rock the country’s remote northwest.
Police shot dead at least two suspects after violence erupted in Yecheng county, Kashgar prefecture, the news agency said. Xinhua said that “violent mobs” launched attacks and police were now in pursuit of those involved in the violence. No details were given about what might have set off the violence.
Xinjiang -- a vast region in China’s northwest that is home to around nine million mostly Muslim Uighurs who complain of oppression under Chinese rule -- has been hit by sporadic bouts of violent unrest in the past few years.
In December, seven people were killed in Pishan county in what the government described as a hostage rescue operation after “terrorists” kidnapped two people. Exiles, however, said the incident was a conflict between regular Uighurs and policemen prompted by mounting discontent over a crackdown and religious repression in the area. The region was also hit by three deadly attacks last July that left dozens dead. The government blames much of the violence in the resource-rich region on extremism, separatism and terrorism.