News / Asia

Knife Attack Kills Dozens in China's Xinjiang

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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs