News / Asia

China Offers Large Rewards Following Deadly Week in Xinjiang

FILE - A Uighur man looks on as a truck carrying paramilitary policemen travel along a street during an anti-terrorism oath-taking rally in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
FILE - A Uighur man looks on as a truck carrying paramilitary policemen travel along a street during an anti-terrorism oath-taking rally in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
William Ide

Chinese state media say the country’s remote and restive region of Xinjiang has set aside nearly $50 million in rewards for those who help provide authorities with leads in their crackdown on violent extremists.

The announcement of the massive reward scheme comes just days after Xinjiang saw its most violent week of unrest since 2009. Last week, nearly 100 people were killed in violence the government says was carried out by a gang of violent ethnic Uighur terrorists.

The Chinese government did not disclose the deaths for days, prompting overseas Uighur groups to question the government’s version of the events and call for an independent investigation.

State media say the unrest in southern Xinjiang began early Monday morning on July 28 in Yarkand County, a district outside the city of Kashgar. It was not until nearly a week later, however, that Chinese authorities released a more detailed account of what had happened.

Police stations, governments buildings attacked

According to state media, masked men carrying knives and axes attacked police stations and government offices in the township of Elixku before turning their attention to civilians, smashing and torching dozens of vehicles.

According to a report Sunday on Tianshan, an online news site run by the Xinjiang regional government, 37 civilians were killed during the attacks, including two Uighur officials. Police shot dead 59 alleged terrorists and 215 others were taken into custody.

Like much of China’s reporting on terrorist attacks, it was not possible to independently confirm many details of the violent unrest. Chinese state media say a man police named as Nuramat Sawut was the instigator of the attack. Sawut reportedly had prepared groups to participate in the attack by meeting with them during the holy month of Ramadan.

'Holy war'

State media reports say those who participated were carrying flags declaring a “holy war” and that Sawut was working together with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

The attack in Yarkand came just days after what state media says was a massive manhunt south of the area just outside the city of Hotan. According to official accounts some 30,000 people helped authorities encircle a group of 10 terrorists, nine of whom were killed at the scene.

Footage of the manhunt on state media showed individuals marching through cornfields and lining streets with clubs. On Saturday, the Xinjiang Daily said officials handed out nearly $600,000 in rewards to those who aided authorities in the effort.

In addition to the violence in Yarkand or Shache, as it called in Mandarin, the 74-year old imam of the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar was killed last week in what appeared to be a targeted attack.

Cracking down on terrorism

Chinese analysts say last week’s violence highlights the growing intensity of the government’s campaign to crack down on terrorism and that they are watching to see if the attack will mark a turning point.

Over the weekend, the party secretary in Xinjiang, Zhang Chunxian, pledged to “unswervingly” press forward with the campaign, to strike extremists hard and with accuracy, to remove as he put it "the weeds of separatism" by digging deep to their roots.

The overall prevalence of deep religious extremism in Xinjiang remains a matter of debate in China. Most people in the remote region practice a more moderate form of Sunni Islam. But some Chinese analysts warn that the government’s tough tactics could backfire by radicalizing more moderate Muslims.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress says the government is living under an illusion if it thinks that cracking down hard in Xinjiang or offering rewards will win it the support of the Uighur people.

“The main sticking point here is changing the government’s current policies. If it doesn’t do that, these types of conflicts could arise at any moment,” he says.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping took office last year in March, the death toll from ethnic violence in Xinjiang and other parts of the country has risen to nearly 300. Hundreds of ethnic Uighurs have been taken into custody and more than a dozen have already been executed for “violent terrorism” crimes.
 

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 04, 2014 2:14 PM
China is losing control over the minorities whether in Tibet or Xinjiang. Offering money to combat terrorism is quite a departure from China's customary practice.

by: chow loh from: Asean
August 04, 2014 10:20 AM

I salute President Xi Jinping campaign against corruption and hope all Chinese people will support him. I was in Xinjiang with my daughter for holiday about 15 years ago and it was so peaceful then. I hope peace and good life will be enjoyed by all people of Xinjiang, irrespective of ethnicity. So, the Central Government/ Provincial Government should adopt an inclusive strategy, at least for a few years before implementing harsh measures. All should be treated as Chinese citizens and accorded their rights and help from the State where appropriate.

by: william li from: canada
August 04, 2014 9:45 AM
did America change policies after 911? then why should China? China will show no mercy to terrorists. there is only one way to deal with them that's kill them all.and Chinese government got support from 1.3 billion Chinese majority! that support is enough to press the terrorism down.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More