Conflict & Justice

China: 15 people reported killed in clashes in Xinjiang

At least 15 people are dead following weekend violence in Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road trading hub in China’s restive western region of Xinjiang, according to Chinese state media.

The official Xinhua news agency reports that two men killed a truck driver on Saturday then plowed his truck into pedestrians and attacked them with knives, killing six people and injuring 28. The crowd reportedly turned on the men, killing one and capturing the other.

On Sunday, an explosion in Kashgar left three people dead, including a police officer, and police shot and killed “four suspects,” Xinhua said, without giving additional details.

Xinjiang, which has an ethnic Uighur minority — Muslims with a similar culture to that of Central Asia — has seen escalating ethnic tension with the country’s Han Chinese majority.

Xinhua said that both of Saturday’s attackers were from the Uighur minority.

The BBC quotes, a Xinjiang government-run website, as saying that the attackers on Saturday hijacked a truck waiting at traffic lights, stabbing the driver to death before driving into pedestrians, and then getting out of the vehicle and attacking people at random.

"The entire city of Kashgar is under martial law, and authorities have arrested at least 100 Uighurs," the Germany-based World Uighur Congress said in a statement, Reuters reports.

Earlier this month, 18 people died in an attack on a police station in the city of Hotan, the Guardian reports. Chinese officials blamed the attack on "terrorists" who were Uighurs.

But Uighur activists said Chinese security forces had provoked clashes by opening fire on peaceful demonstrators.

In 2009, riots erupted in Xinjiang’s regional capital of Urumqi in which nearly 200 people died.

(More from GlobalPost: Silencing Uighurs — Amnesty International says China continues to punish critical voices two years after deadly riots)