News / Asia

Knife Attack Kills Dozens in China's Xinjiang

William Ide

China says dozens are dead following an attack by a mob armed with knives in restive Xinjiang province, the latest in a series of attacks in the region.

The official Xinhua news agency says the mob staged attacks in two towns Monday, killing both Han and Uighur residents. The report says police responded with gunfire, killing dozens of attackers. An unknown number of people were wounded in the violence, which the report called a "premeditated terrorist attack."

Beijing waited nearly a day before officially confirming the violence via state media. Earlier, China's Internet minders were scrubbing social networks for references about the unrest.

Some postings said telephone and Internet communications have been cut. But calls to Shache, also known as or Yarkant County, did go through.

VOA was unable to reach officials for comment, and one local police station in Shache promptly hung up when told that a reporter was inquiring about the situation there.

Sources tell VOA the county has been locked down and that no one is being allowed to enter.

A woman at a business in Shache said she had heard about what had happened, but had no way of knowing what was true. She did not get into specifics, noting that phone lines are tapped in the region and that individuals are quickly detained for spreading rumors.

The woman added that the tense climate in the region is having a big impact on business during what is typically a brisk season. Tuesday marks the end of Ramadan, a major holiday in the region where many ethnic Muslim Uighurs live.

Xinhua posted photos Tuesday of rows of Muslims in prayer outside Id Kah Mosque, China's largest. The mosque is in Kasghar City, several hundred kilometers from where the unrest was reported to have taken place.

What the photos did not show were the scores of security officers also on hand near the mosque.

Violence linked to Xinjiang has been growing and spreading to other parts of the country. Authorities blame Uighur separatists for the attacks and have warned that religious extremists from the region are receiving training from overseas.

Critics say it is the government's heavy-handed control in the region, and religious and cultural restrictions that are fueling discontent among Xinjiang's Uighurs.

In its annual report on religious freedom released Monday, the United States raised its concerns about China's policies in the remote region.

"Broadly targeting an entire religious or ethnic community in response to the actions of a few only increases the potential for violent extremism," said Tom Malinowski, assistant secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Nearly 200 people have been killed in ongoing violence in Xinjiang and other parts of the country during the past year or so. In response to the problem, the government has launched a year-long security campaign, boosting the presence of troops and police throughout the region.

Earlier this year, the government released a report on terrorism and also published a list of 10 terrorist attacks that occurred in 2013. Seven of the attacks listed occurred in Xinjiang's southern Kashgar Prefecture, including an attack on a police station in Shache late last December.

Previously, the government has been quick to publicize information about attacks, including one on a market in the capital of Urumqi that killed at least 31 people in May. Why it took nearly 24 hours this time is unclear.

In one posting that was taken down, a Weibo user by the name of Glass City asked why the government would be removing posts if such a horrible attack had occurred, and individuals could just be trying to tell others what is going on. "What is the point of such an information blockade?" the user asked.

Chinese authorities could be clamping down to help stem the spread of more unrest.

In 2009, online discussion played a key role in the outbreak of massive riots between Han Chinese and Uighurs that hit Urumqi. Authorities say about 200 people were killed in the violence, many of them Han Chinese.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NY
August 04, 2014 11:05 AM
The CCP is waging a war against the Uighur people. Since the PLA's invasion of East Turkestan in 1949, China has treated the Uighurs as 2nd class citizens and discriminates against them for their culture & religion. If you oppress a people long enough they will eventually rise up. I oppose violence against innocent civilians but the CCP is engaged in state terrorism against the Uighurs.

by: Andy from: USA
July 30, 2014 8:42 AM
Xinjiang , like Tibet was an independent country with China. Its people have a totally different language and culture with the Chinese. In 1949, China invaded and annexed it and just like it did with Tibet in 1950. So, please don't call the Uighurs people "terrorists" . They are trying to win back their country. Free Xinjiang and Tibet now !!!
In Response

by: william li from: canada
July 30, 2014 1:02 PM
well, aboriginals have their totally different language and cultures from ameircans. should they start to kill americans and win back their lands? or may be China should round up those Uyghurs into reservations to keep them from causing troubles? uhm!

by: John Emery from: Petaluma California
July 29, 2014 4:34 PM
They do not have a gun problem in China but if people want to murder others there is always a way to do it.. Sad but true!
In Response

by: Kyle from: New York
July 30, 2014 5:11 PM
meanbill, it is Israel that defends itself against the terrorist group Hamas, that manipulates and uses the Palestinian people as pawns in its constant attacks on Israel, placing its weapons in places like schools, and using all of the cement that was sent into Gaza for humanitarian purposes to build tunnel systems for making war against Israel, a liberal democracy where Muslims have full freedom.

If Israel was a nation in which Muslims had no rights, your argument might have some merit, but as it is, it falls apart when one looks at the facts.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 29, 2014 8:21 PM
Hey John... they killed millions of people for thousands of years before they invented guns, didn't they? ... Humans kill for what's usually not theirs, and for power over others.... or resistance against (forced apartheid occupation) like Hamas fights against in Gaza..... (The Israel forced apartheid occupation, that the US supports), and wholeheartedly backs the indiscriminate destruction and killings of Palestinian homes and civilians, with all it's power and influence in the UN and the world.... CRAZY isn't it?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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