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.

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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess 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.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs