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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs