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11 'Terrorists' Dead in Shootout with Chinese Police: Report

Chinese police have shot and killed eight suspected militants in the western Xinjiang region where Beijing says it is fighting an Islamic separatist movement.

The official Xinhua news agency said Friday three militants were also killed by their own suicide bombs. It said the incident occured when the "terrorists, riding motorbikes and cars, attacked a team of police" in front of a park in Wushi County in the Aksu Prefecture.

The brief report said the "terrorists had unknown number of LNG (liquid natural gas) cylinders in their car which they had attempted to use as suicide bombs."

Clashes occasionally break out between state security forces and ethnic Uighur Muslims who complain of religious and cultural persecution by the Beijing government.

The government blames most of the attacks on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. China says the group is fighting for independence and is backed by foreign extremists.

Many international human rights groups say China is exaggerating the threat in order to justify its repression of Muslim religious life.

When such clashes occur, exiled Uighur activists almost invariably blame China's heavy-handed police tactics for the violence.

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