'Terrorist Attack' Strikes Troubled China Region
Knife, ax fight erupts in ethnically divided Xinjiang
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2013 6:39 AM CDT
Members of the militia, a civilian reserve force under China's military, shout slogans as they march during an anti-terrorism exercise in Hami, in northwestern China's Xinjiang region.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A deadly confrontation in China's ethnically divided Xinjiang region has left 21 people dead, in what government officials are calling a "terrorist attack," Reuters reports. The Xinjiang government says the violence was sparked after community workers found a number of knives in the house of local Uighurs; it says 14 of them "rioted" with knives and axes, killing 15 police officers and social workers. "The community people were just conducting regular checks, but the action from the rioters was planned and well prepared," says the official.

Six of the "gang members" were shot dead, al-Jazeera reports. However, a spokesperson for the World Uighur Congress says the riot ensued only after a young Uighur was shot first by authorities. The area has a history of civil unrest between the local minority Muslim Uighur community and the ruling Han Chinese. As the BBC points out, restrictions on foreign journalists in the politically charged area make it difficult to verify either side's story, and it reports that the government has provided little proof that the violence is organized terrorism rather than the result of long-simmering resentment. For more information, the BBC has also compiled a useful primer on the history of Uighur-China relations in Xinjiang.

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Apr 24, 2013 8:55 AM CDT
I hope Afghanistanis attack the Chinese in there copper mining camps since the Chinese want to destroy precious Afghan artifacts.
Apr 24, 2013 7:36 AM CDT
" ... community workers found a number of knives in the house of local Uighurs ... " "The community people were just conducting regular checks ... " "community workers?" "conducting regular checks?" So ... there are "community workers" empowered somehow to "conduct() ... checks" on the "local Uigars," and these "checks" are "regular?" What does that sound like to you?
Apr 24, 2013 7:27 AM CDT
You can't just call everything Muslims do "terrorism" and expect the world to get on board. This was a riot prompted by police actions, not an attack on civillians.