China

Chinese forces 'kill 17 in Xinjiang' after colliery attack

Bullet holes are pictured in the glass window of a Bank of China office located near the Dong Kuruk Bridge mosque in the city of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region in this 11 July 2009 file image Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hundreds have died in attacks in Xinjiang over the past three years

Chinese forces have killed 17 people allegedly connected with a deadly assault on a coal mine in the troubled Xinjiang region, a report says.

US-based Radio Free Asia said the dead included women and children.

The report came a few days after police posted a message on social media sites saying they had successfully carried out an operation in Xinjiang.

China says it is fighting terrorists in Xinjiang - hundreds have died in attacks over the past three years.

Ethnic Uighurs - part of China's Muslim minority - say Beijing's repression of their religious and cultural customs is provoking the violence.

The police operation came after an attack at the Sogan colliery in Aksu which left at least 50 people dead and 50 injured, Radio Free Asia reported, citing government and local sources.

Details of the 18 September attack remain unclear and have not been reported in Chinese media, the report said.

Manhunt

But it "occurred when a group of knife-wielding suspects set upon security guards at the gate of the mine in Terek township before targeting the owner's residence and a dormitory for workers", the report said.

At least five police officers, including a local police chief, were killed when they arrived to tackle the situation, it said.

Police then appeared to have mounted a manhunt for the alleged culprits.

"All terrorists were killed on the 56th day of a 'pursue and attack' operation" in the region," China's Ministry of Public Security announced in a 14 November statement published on its website.

The police announcement gave no details of the operation, and was removed shortly after it was posted, Radio Free Asia reported.


Uighurs and Xinjiang

  • Uighurs are ethnically Turkic Muslims
  • They make up about 45% of the region's population; 40% are Han Chinese
  • China re-established control in 1949 after crushing short-lived state of East Turkestan
  • Since then, there has been large-scale immigration of Han Chinese
  • Uighurs fear erosion of traditional culture

Who are the Uighurs?


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