A Chinese policeman was killed in an “anti-terrorism” operation in the restive region of Xinjiang, Chinese state media reported yesterday — an incident last week in which overseas reports said that 22 Uighurs were shot dead.
The Global Times said the policeman “died in action against a violent terrorist group.”
The Kashgar Daily named the policeman as Yan Xiaofei, 32, and said his funeral was held at the weekend in Kashgar, near the border with Kyrgyzstan, after he “heroically gave his life” on Aug. 20.
No other casualties have been officially confirmed, the Global Times said.
However, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), which is funded by the US government, 22 Uighurs were killed in the raid at the edge of a desert area in Yilkiqi.
RFA cited the deputy chief of Yilkiqi Township, Alim Hamid, as saying he had been at the scene of the shootout, following which “22 bodies in black bags were carried out by police to an unknown destination.”
“Police informed us that those who were killed were terrorists, but they didn’t specify what wrong they did,” RFA quoted him as saying.
The Munich-based World Uyghur Congress condemned what it called “extra-judicial killings” and said it was “deeply concerned” about the incident that left “a dark shadow over the actions of the Chinese authorities.”
“Police surrounded a group of Uighurs who were peacefully praying in the desert, following which they began to fire upon the Uighurs and swiftly burying the deceased in a hole dug up by a bulldozer,” it said.
Chinese media and government Web sites have largely only carried reports about the policeman’s death.