News / Asia

Gun Battle in China's Xinjiang Kills 21 People

Xinjiang province, Kashgar prefecture, ChinaXinjiang province, Kashgar prefecture, China
Xinjiang province, Kashgar prefecture, China
Xinjiang province, Kashgar prefecture, China
VOA News
Chinese officials say 21 people were killed after a fight broke out during a police investigation of suspected criminals in the latest act of violence in the restive northwest province of Xinjiang.

The clashes began Tuesday, when social workers came across what state media referred to as "suspicious individuals and knives" in a house in western Kashgar prefecture.

An official at the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region news office confirmed the incident in an interview with VOA.

"While [the social workers] were in the process of reporting this to their superiors they were apprehended by bandits who were hiding in the home. Afterwards policemen and community cadres at the local police station went to handle the matter, and the bandits killed the police and community workers who were inside the home," said the official.

The Xinjiang official, who did not wish to be named, said the suspects set fire to the house during the clashes. Fifteen social workers and police were killed, while six "gang members" were shot dead. Another eight were captured.

The official said the incident was "definitely a premeditated, violent act of terror." State media said the group was plotting to use the weapons to "launch terror activities." Such accusations are common against ethnic Uighurs involved in violence.

Xinjiang is an ethnically divided region that sees occasional clashes, mainly between the predominantly Muslim Uighur community, the Han Chinese settler majority, and government security forces.

Ethnic tensions in Xinjiang have been simmering since a series of riots in 2009 killed over 200 people in the regional capital of Urumqi. Subsequent clashes also broke out, prompting what activists say is a heavy crackdown on the Uighur community.

The government says the increased security is needed to deal with what it says are Muslim extremists and militant separatists who are inciting violence. Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying echoed that claim during a regular briefing on Wednesday.

"The current situation in Xinjiang is good in general, but a small cluster of terrorist forces are still doing their very best to disturb and sabotage Xinjiang's stability and development. I believe their scheme goes against the will of the people and is doomed to fail," said Hua.

In addition to the heavy police presence, China has increased aid to Xinjiang in an attempt to combat poverty, which it considers to be a root cause of the violence.

But many of the Turkic-speaking Uighurs say they are still economically and culturally disadvantaged, and face widespread discrimination resulting from a massive influx of ethnic Han Chinese into the region.

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Comment Sorting
by: Wangchuk from: NY
April 26, 2013 10:46 AM
I treat with suspect any reports from Xinhua, China Daily & the PRC Govt. They frequently lie on issues like Xinjiang & Tibet. The CCP controls all media & information in China, Xinjiang & Tibet and uses censorship to prevent anyone learning the truth of what's going on in these areas. Xinhua is the largest propaganda agency in the world. Amnesty & HRW have documented numerous human rights violations by the PRC Govt in Xinjiang.
In Response

by: nnon from: Happy valley
April 29, 2013 6:44 PM
I especially do when China Daily & Xinhua frequently calls the Uyghur people warm and friendly, but when many innocent people were attacked in 2009, I had my doubts.
In Response

by: sdjn from: China
April 26, 2013 11:18 PM
the ethnic groups in China are actually enjoy far more rights than the Han people.

by: ChasL from: Seattle
April 25, 2013 12:49 PM
As a tax payer who's money is unwittingly funding propaganda like this, first allow me to apologize to people in China or elsewhere that are offended by VOA.

Does anything justify the violence? Let's be clear 15 of the 21 dead were unarmed police deputy (police in China are like bobby in England, no gun) and social worker that were ATTACKED.

The Chinese media showed nothing but sympathy towards us when Boston was bombed. But when their Boston happened we try to use it to propagandize against the Chinese government as somehow illegitmate.

Shame on you VOA.
In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
April 26, 2013 10:47 AM
"ChasL" sounds like a member of the 50 Cent Party. They are paid by the CCP to present pro-CCP messages and attack anyone who darest to criticize the almighty Chinese Communist Party.

by: VOChina from: XJ
April 25, 2013 2:00 AM
What a terribly misleading and inaccurate article. Most of the Chinese police and social workers killed by the extremists were Uyghurs. Groups (including Uyghurs) not designated as Han have reserved government jobs, reduced taxes, permitted to have more than one child, etc. There are efforts to improve upon traditional lifestyles and reduce poverty of all. Uyghurs in China are better off than the natives in reserves/America.

The Voice Of America should speak of the abhorent conditions of the decimated natives who have little voice in America.
In Response

by: ChasL from: Seattle
April 25, 2013 12:50 PM
Correct, according to reports 15 of the deputy police and social workers ambushed are - 10 Uyghurs, 3 Hans, 2 Mongols.

by: Jonny from: Soochow
April 24, 2013 9:49 PM
" face widespread discrimination resulting from a massive influx of ethnic Han Chinese into the region"

you really come to China to see the situation istead of sitting in the office,drinking the coffee and say $#^&$#%%^&*@!%^&%^@#%$&$%$%^#$%^#%&#$!

by: sxf from: beijing
April 24, 2013 9:44 PM
Taiwan is a province of china.please show it on the map.
In Response

by: sdjn from: China
April 26, 2013 11:13 PM
Taiwan is part of China, and separated from China in the 1940's due to the civil way. It's like two brothers separated. Can you say they do not belong to the same family?
In Response

by: Wanchuk from: NYC
April 26, 2013 10:53 AM
Actually Taiwan is a de facto independent country. If Taiwan is a province of China why do does Taiwan have its own military, separate currencey & separate govt that does not recognize the CCP?
In Response

by: Anonymous
April 25, 2013 1:58 AM
a province that Beijing cannot get tax and can not send its troops to. a province that a Chinese people need a visa to enter.

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