News / Asia

China's Xinjiang Riot Kills 27

Shanshan County, Xinjiang Province, China
Shanshan County, Xinjiang Province, China
Chinese state media say 27 people were killed during rioting in the ethnically-mixed western region of Xinjiang, the worst violence in the area in four years.

The official Xinhua news agency said the riot began early Wednesday when "knife-wielding mobs" attacked police stations, a local government building, and a construction site in the Lukqun township of Shanshan County.

The report said the rioters stabbed people and set fire to police cars, killing nine security personnel and eight civilians before police opened fire and killed 10 assailants. It said police also captured three rioters and are searching for an unknown number of others.

It gave no information on what led to the riots and did not comment on the ethnicity of those involved.

Xinjiang has experienced years of occasional fighting between members of China's mostly Muslim Uighur minority and the Han Chinese majority. Many Uighurs blame Xinjiang's violence on religious and cultural discrimination resulting from a massive influx of Han.

Dolkun Isa, secretary of the World Uighur Congress, told VOA it is difficult to confirm what exactly happened in Wednesday's unrest because of a heavy police presence and what he called an atmosphere of "martial law" prevailing in the area.

But Isa said it was possible that a Uighur mob raided the police station, saying such attacks happen out of a desire for revenge.

"Of course, people get the feelings of revenge, because the police always are restricting the daily lives of people," he said. "They don't allow space for normal life for them. Because Chinese police and the Chinese government are always interrupting their daily lives. They have no space."

A Shanshan County resident told VOA's sister network Radio Free Asia that after the riot, police restricted access to Lukqun, which he described as a small and predominantly Uighur town with only one large road and surrounded by farm land.

The man, who asked not to be identified, said residents usually engage in protests if they believe their grievances have not been properly addressed by Chinese authorities.

"The [Uighur] people in the rural area of this region are normally peaceful and honest, and they don't harbor hatred. If they have hatred, it is because some educated fellows have encouraged them in that way," he said.

China has said it grants Uighurs wide-ranging freedoms, but insisted that it faces a growing threat from terrorists or extremists in the Uighur community who want to form a separate state called East Turkestan.

Exiled Uighur activists such as Isa have disputed those claims, saying China is exaggerating the extremist threat to justify its security clampdown and monitoring of Islamic institutions in Xinjiang.

Wednesday's unrest was the deadliest in Xinjiang since 2009, when more than 200 people were killed in riots that saw the Turkic-speaking Uighurs fight against state security forces and Han Chinese residents.

In April this year, a confrontation between locals and police in the heavily Uighur area of Kashgar killed 21 people.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid