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.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs