|2 Chinese Policemen Killed,
7 Wounded in Xinjiang - August 28, 2008
2 Chinese Policemen Killed, 7 Wounded in Xinjiang
By AUDRA ANG
The Associated Press
Thursday, August 28, 2008; 12:27 PM
BEIJING -- Chinese police clashed with members of the
Muslim Uighur ethnic minority in the far western region
of Xinjiang, authorities and an activist said Thursday,
the first reported outbreak of violence in the area
since two high-profile attacks during the Olympics.
Two Chinese policemen died and seven more were wounded.
It was not immediately clear what ignited Wednesday's
conflict in a village in Jiashi County or if any Uighurs
Activist Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based
World Uighur Congress, said witnesses heard "fierce
gunfire" and saw at least 20 Uighurs arrested _ part of
what he says is a wider, ongoing crackdown. He did not
give any other details.
A public security official said eight Uighurs _ seven
men and one woman _ were involved. One man had been
captured, but the others were at large, said the
official, who refused to give his name as is common
among Chinese officials.
Mu'erbiya, an official from Jiashi County's Communist
Party propaganda office, said two police officers had
died and an investigation was under way. Like some
Uighurs, she uses one name.
Seven police officers were being treated at the No. 1
People's Hospital in Kashgar, about 60 miles west of
Jiashi, including one for stab wounds, according to a
woman at the hospital's emergency center who refused to
give her name.
China has long said that militants among the region's
dominant ethnic Uighurs are leading an Islamic
separatist movement in Xinjiang, an oil- and gas-rich
region on the border with Afghanistan, Pakistan and six
Central Asian nations. The Uighurs are Turkic-speaking
Muslims with a language and culture distinct from the
majority of Chinese.
But critics accuse Beijing of using claims of terrorism
as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence
sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Thursday
confirmed reports of the Jiashi incident but did not
provide any details. He insisted that there were only
sporadic tensions in Xinjiang.
"People of various ethnic groups coexist in harmony and
equality, and the situation in Xinjiang is generally
good," Qin said at a regular briefing. "This has nothing
to do with any alleged persecution or oppression of the
He said that there was a handful of Uighur "terrorist
forces attempting to create violence and split China"
but that the government and authorities were cracking
down on them.
The predominantly Muslim region saw three deadly attacks
during and just before the Beijing Olympics. Videos also
appeared online threatening the games.
The wave of violence began on Aug. 4, four days before
the start of the competition, in the ancient Silk Road
city of Kashgar near the border with Afghanistan and
Pakistan. Two men stole a truck and rammed it into a
group of police on their morning jog. The men continued
attacking with homemade bombs and knives, killing 16
Six days later, bombers struck in the west-central
Xinjiang county of Kuqa, targeting a police station,
government building, bank and shops owned by Chinese.
Police said they killed 10 of the attackers _ including
one woman _ while a security guard and a bystander died
in the violence. State media said another attacker, a
15-year-old girl, was injured.
On Aug. 12, attackers jumped from a vehicle and stabbed
civilian guards, killing three of them at a roadside
checkpoint in Yamanya town, near Kashgar. The assailants
No one has claimed responsibility for any of the
incidents, though government officials have suggested
terrorism is behind the violence.
Citing local Uighurs, Raxit, the activist, said
large-scale arrests have been taking place in Kuqa and
Kashgar since the attacks and residents of Kuqa are
prohibited from traveling outside of the area.
Checkpoints also have been set up, he said, adding that
Wednesday's incident has triggered even tighter
"It is part of China's worsening crackdown in the area,"
Raxit said in a statement. "The international community
should prevent the Chinese government from carrying out
their systematic crackdown policies on the Uighurs."
Police in Kuqa refused to comment on the current
situation and telephones at police headquarters rang
unanswered in Kashgar.
The Uighurs suffered greatly in the 1960s and 1970s when
the government _ caught up in Marxist revolutionary
fervor _ viewed religion as well as minority languages
and culture as divisive remnants of feudalism that
should be abolished.
In the 1980s, the government adopted a more liberal
political and cultural policy in Xinjiang, but in the
following decade resorted to a hard-line policy after
scattered incidents of unrest.
Celil allowed to meet with mother, sister
- (Oct 13 2008)
China: Uighur Writer Detained
(Oct 09 2008)
US Court of Appeals blocks
release of Guantánamo Uighurs as government resorts to
‘scare tactics’ - (10 October 2008)
Two police die in Xinjiang clash
- ( 8/28/2008 )
US disappointed Olympics didn't
open China more - ( 8/24/2008 )
Uyghurs stand up to China over
East Turkistan - ( 8/18/2008 )
Few answers in violence-hit
Xinjiang - ( 8/16/2008 )