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Uighur Activist Accuses China of Covering Up Xinjiang Killings

  • VOA News

A Uighur American activist is accusing China of covering up the killing of about a dozen Muslims during a raid in the northwestern region of Xinjiang last week.

Reports in the province say police conducted the raid against alleged terrorists. A state-run newspaper in the town of Kashgar, near the site of the raid, said a memorial service was conducted this week for a policeman killed in the incident.

There has been no official confirmation of deaths, casualties or arrests among the minority Uighurs involved in the incident.

Alim Seytoff, President of the Uighur American Association, told VOA's Mandarin service that Chinese officials are covering it up. "Chinese police force shot at a native Uighur ethnic group that was conducting a religious study and prayer, killing at least 22 people and arresting four or five others. The Chinese government didn't want to report the incident after the killing, and instead they covered up the fact. China's official media began to reveal the incident only after the international media exposed the truth. But just as they did before, the official media said the victims are terrorists," said Seytoff.

His account of the incident cannot be independently verified, but Radio Free Asia also has reported that 22 Uighurs were killed in the raid.

Earlier this month, authorities in Kashgar sentenced two men to death and three others to prison for deadly clashes that authorities are called a terrorist attack. The violence occurred in late April and left 21 dead.

Beijing has said radical Muslim groups in the area pose a threat to security.

The millions of Uighurs who live in Xinjiang frequently complain about restrictions on religion and culture.

Xinjiang shares its vast border with Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.
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