China Sees Muslim Extremists in Xinjiang Unrest

But human rights groups doubt government story
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2011 2:03 AM CDT
Members of the Uyghur ethnic minority walk past a Muslim mosque near the Erduoqiao neighborhood in Urumqi in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. China on Monday...   (AP Photo/David Wivell)
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(Newser) – Chinese authorities are blaming Muslim extremists with links to Pakistan for the burst of violence in the western region of Xinjiang that killed 11 people Sunday, reports Reuters. Leaders of this latest uprising in the restive region joined the so-called East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) while in Pakistan, says Beijing, and received training in weapons and explosives. "The members of this group all adhere to extremist religious ideas and adamantly support Jihad," wrote the Kashgar government on its website.

On Sunday, nine people, all believed to be Uighurs, stormed a restaurant in Kashgar city, killing a waiter and the owner and setting the restaurant on fire. Then they ran into the street, hacking four more people to death. Police killed five of the rebels and arrested four others. The attacks followed two bombings in Kashgar Saturday that killed eight people. "There's a lot of pent-up anger and resentment of Chinese policies in Kashgar," said a China researcher for Human Rights Watch, who was skeptical about possible links to ETIM. "It's now an umbrella term used by China for any kind of Uighur separatist or anti-state activity."

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