Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Riots in China's Xinjiang 'kill at least 10'

Riots in the volatile Chinese region of Xinjiang left at least 10 people dead Tuesday, 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 at around 6:00 pm (1000 GMT) and police were now in pursuit of those involved in 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 but some experts doubt terror cells operate in Xinjiang, where Turkic-speaking Uighurs practise a moderate form of Islam.