Sat, Sep 27, 2014 - Page 5 News List

China says 40 rioters killed in Xinjiang

AFP, BEIJING

Forty “rioters” were killed in China’s far western Xinjiang region after a series of coordinated explosions on Sunday, the regional government has said, with residents saying heavy security is still in place days after the violence.

Six civilians, two police officers and two auxiliary police were also killed in the attacks in Luntai County in the region’s south, with 54 civilians injured, the Xinjiang government’s Tianshan Web portal said late on Thursday.

Two “rioters” were captured, it added, while the main suspect, whose name was given as Mamat Tursun, was shot dead.

The violence took place just two days before the sentencing of ethnic Muslim Uighur academic Ilham Tohti, who was on trial on charges of separatism.

Tohti, a former economics professor who has been critical of Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday. The US, the EU and several human rights groups have called for his release.

The Chinese newspaper the Global Times, which is run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) paper the People’s Daily, said in an op-ed that Tohti’s case should be seen as a warning to anyone trying to break China apart.

“Chinese separatists must be fully aware of the red line drawn by the Chinese constitution and criminal law,” it said. “Tohti could serve as a lesson for them to realize what price they have to pay if they continue their dangerous pace.”

According to the Tianshan report, the “organized and serious” attack comprised of four explosions that took place on Sunday evening, targeting two police stations, an outdoor market and a shop.

Among the 54 civilians injured were 32 members of China’s mostly Muslim Uighur minority and 22 Han Chinese, it said.

The 40 “rioters” killed had either blown themselves up or were shot dead by police, Tianshan reported.

Police said that Mamat Tursun, the alleged ringleader of Sunday’s attack, had been “gradually developing into an extremist” since 2003 and had “called on other people to join his terrorist group when working on construction projects,” according to the Xinhua news agency.

China’s supreme court on Sunday distributed new wide-ranging guidelines on prosecuting terrorism cases.

“Making and showing banners and other material of religious extremism will be criminalized,” Xinhua news agency said in a summary of the regulations. The court also said that the use of insults such as “religious traitor” and “heretic” could lead to criminal conviction.

Xinjiang, a resource-rich region which abuts Central Asia, is home to about 10 million Uighurs, who mostly follow Sunni Islam.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top