BEIJING – Chinese police have shot dead fourteen people in China’s Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, aid growing complaints of Chinese oppression of the Muslim minority in the region.
“The abusive use of force by authorities in the area has deprived the Uighurs of their right to live,” Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the Munich-based World Uighur Congress, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Monday, December 16.
According to the brief report from the Tianshan news service, occurred late at night in Shufu County near Kashgar, a part of Xinjiang plagued by tensions between Muslim Uighurs and the government authorities.
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The brief said that police trying to arrest a suspct were attacked by a group of “rioters” with explosives and knives.
Two police officers died, while the police fatally shot 14 attackers and captured two others, according to the report. Investigations into the events were underway, it said.
All 14 people killed by police were Muslim Uighurs and two of them were minors.
The three attackers; named by authorities as Usmen Hasan, his wife and his mother, were among the dead.
Beijing described the assault, the first blamed on Uighurs outside Xinjiang, as “terrorism” and said separatists backed by the militant East Turkestan Islamic Movement were responsible.
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the latest incident “shows once again the anti-human and anti-society nature of the terrorist groups”.
“This kind of attempt will not win public support and is doomed to failure,” she told reporters at a regular briefing.
Uighur Muslims are a Turkish-speaking minority of eight million in the northwestern Xinjiang region.
Xinjiang, which activists call East Turkestan, has been autonomous since 1955 but continues to be the subject of massive security crackdowns by Chinese authorities.
Rights groups accuse Chinese authorities of religious repression against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang in the name of counter terrorism.
As Uighur Muslims continue to complain about Chinese oppression, the troubles in Xinjiang are rarely documented in China's state-run media.
In a booklet called "Understanding Xinjiang," distributed at China's annual session of parliament this March, one section was titled "Xinjiang natives are carefree" and claimed China's regional autonomy system ensured Xinjiang residents the right of "being the real masters of their own lives and destiny," USA Today reported.
Beijing hopes to develop already thriving tourism to Xinjiang, exploiting its Silk Road past.
One plan involves opening a theme park later this month in Shufu county, where Sunday's attack allegedly occurred.
The park will be "Xinjiang's Disneyland," local media said in June, and themed after Afanti, known to the rest of the Turkic-speaking world as the wise fool Nasreddin.
"The stability of our region is very important for our daily life and economy," said a Uighur veterinarian in Kashgar, who uses the Chinese name Li Lei, and said his pet care business is growing as more local people can afford to keep pets.
"National unity is the most important thing for Xinjiang, I really don't like incidents like this, I wish everybody in Xinjiang could live in peace," he said.
Muslims accuses the government of settling millions of ethnic Han in their territory with the ultimate goal of obliterating its identity and culture.
Analysts say the policy of transferring Han Chinese to Xinjiang to consolidate Beijing's authority has increased the proportion of Han in the region from five percent in the 1940s to more than 40 percent now.
Beijing views the vast region of Xinjiang as an invaluable asset because of its crucial strategic location near Central Asia and its large oil and gas reserves.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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