TERRORIST ATTACKS IN XINJIANG
Beijing asserts that terrorists fighting for an independent “East Turkestan” have set off more 200 bombs between 1990 and 2006, killing 162 people and injuring 440 and claims that Chinese security forces have foiled attempts to blow up oil fields, power plants and highways in Xinjiang. Human rights groups claim these figures are inflated. Some of the so called terrorist attacks are ordinary murders. When a bombing or violence occurs it is not always clear whether Islamic groups---let alone terrorists or ones with connections to Al-Qaeda---are even involved.
On February 27, 1997, the day of Deng's funeral, three bus bombs went off within minutes of each other in Urumqi, killing nine and injuring 68. In the same month separatist also tried to sabotage equipment at the Donghetang oil field in southern Xinjiang. In May 1997, an alleged Uighur group carried out a bomb-attack on a Beijing bus which killed two people and injured 100. Yining, a remote city in Xinjiang, was rocked in 1997 by riots, officially said to have been fomented by drug addicts, thieves and other "social garbage."
In April 2001, Islamic terrorists were blamed for slashing the throats of a Kashgar prosecutor and his wife. Around the same time a five-member Islamic group planted a bomb in a brick factory in Khotan. One worker suffered leg injuries.
In August 2001, after alleged murders were cornered at a peasant house in Kuqa, a gun battle broke out that left three terrorists and one policeman dead. Police said they found explosive and guns in a tunnel below the house. An investigation by a human rights groups fund that the men had planed to raise an Uighur flag at a government building and had no connections with any terrorist group.
In February 2002, a suicide bomber blew himself at a department store in Urumqi, injuring three people. The bomber was a migrant worker who had not been paid his wages not an Islamic separatist. Many bombings in China in fact the work of individuals with a grudges not terrorists.
In January 2005, 11 people were killed when a bomb on bus exploded in the city of Karamay, 250 miles northwest of Urumqi, in Xinjiang
See Separate Articles: XINJIANG RIOTS IN 2009 KILL ALMOST 200 PEOPLE factsanddetails.com ; UYGHUR-RELATED PROTESTS, RIOTS AND VIOLENCE IN XINJIANG IN THE 2010s factsanddetails.com ; TERRORISM IN XINJIANG factsanddetails.com ; TERRORIST GROUPS IN XINJIANG (MOSTLY GONE OR OVERHYPED) factsanddetails.com ; UYGHUR-RELATED TERRORIST ATTACKS IN 2013-2014: TIANANMEN SQUARE, GUANGZHOU AND SMALLER ATTACKS factsanddetails.com ; KUNMING ATTACK IN MARCH 2014 KILLS 31 factsanddetails.com ; URUMQI TERRORIST ATTACKS IN APRIL 2014 KILL 42 factsanddetails.com ; COMBATING TERRORISM IN XINJIANG factsanddetails.com
Attacks in Xinjiang Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Attacks blamed on Muslim terrorists, mostly in Xinjiang, before and during the Beijing Olympics in August 2008 left 39 dead. The attacks were all directed at police or security forces and seem to have been purposely timed to coincide with the Olympics. Nevertheless no group claimed responsibility for the attack which involved crude bombs and knives.
There were four attacks that resulted in deaths in Xinjiang. Because several of the attacks were directed at police station some analysts believe the attacks may have been personal vendettas.The attacks received little media attention in China as not to affect the good feeling occurring in the Olympics.The attacks also called into question China’s hardline policy in Xinjiang, which had failed to prevent attacks and may be encouraging them among the usually moderate Muslims.
Turkestan Islamic Party and Attacks in Yunnan
Before the Olympics in Beijing in August 2008, a group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party released a video threatening to disrupt the Olympics in Beijing and claimed responsibility for several attacks: 1) the deadly explosions on two Chinese buses in Shanghai in May; 2) “action against police” in Wenzhou in July with a tractor loaded with explosives; 3) the bombing of a plastics factory in Guangzhou; and 4) the bombing of two buses in July in Kunming, Yunnan that killed two and injured 14, most with shattered ear drums.
In Kunming, separate bombs blew up on two different buses, one at 7:10 am and another at 8:05am. The blasts were powerful enough to blow holes in the sides of the buses. In both cases, the explosions were caused by ammonium nitrate was wrapped in something under the seats. Some people received a text message on their cell phones before the attack that read: “The general mobilization of ants. Hope citizens receiving this message will not take bus lines 54, 64 and 84 tomorrow morning.” The two buses that were attacked were 54 buses. Police launched a massive investigation to find out who was behind the bombing and offered a reward $43,000 for information leading to an arrest.
The Turkestan Islamic Party video, released on the Internet, featured a masked man identified as Commander Seyfullah who said that the attacks were aimed at drawing attention to the group’s demands for an independent Islamic state and end of Chinese repression of Uighurs. Chinese authorities discounted claims made the groups and asserted they merely took credit for attacks carried out by other people.
Another video released by the group on the Internet showed a burning Olympic logo and an explosion superimposed over one of the Olympic venues. A man holding an assault rife, who identified himself as Abdullah Mansour, said in the Uyghur language: “We, members of the Turkestan Islamic Party have declared war against China. We oppose China’s occupation of our homeland of East Turkestan, which is part of the Islamic world.”
Some think the Turkestan Islamic Party, which wants independence for Xinjiang, is based in Pakistan, where some its key leaders may have received some Al-Qaida training. Other say its is the same as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
Attack in Kashgar
In July 2008, four days before the Olympics in Beijing began, 16 Chinese border police officers were killed in Kashgar in one of the deadliest terrorist attack in China ever. Two men---aged 28 and 33---rammed a dump truck into a group of 70 police officers jogging outside the Yiqan Hotel near their barracks. After the truck hit a roadside pole the two leapt out of the truck and began lunging at officers with knives. One tried to throw a home-made explosive at wounded policemen but the device detonated early and blew off his arm. The other threw a home-made bomb at the gate of a police station. Fourteen police officers were killed on the spot. Two more died of their wounds on the way to the hospital. Sixteen others were injured.
The attack was the most serious act of ethnic violence since the 1990s. It took place right in the middle of Kashgar on a major street near the main market and mosque. The two attackers, one with a leg injury and the other with blown off arm, were arrested. According to the government both were Uighurs. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. The next day Kasghar was pretty much back to normal except for a stepped up police presence.
According to the official version of the attack two men, armed with guns, explosives, knives and axes, drove a heavy truck that they had stolen to the site of the assault at 6 a.m. and waited for the officers to emerge from their compound. About 8 a.m., one man, Azat drove the truck into the officers when they came out for their exercises, killing 15 and wounding 13. When the truck turned over, he detonated explosives to kill another person, according to Xinhua."
At the same time, the Xinhua account said, Hemit tossed explosives toward the gate of the security compound and brandished a knife at the police officers who had been felled by the truck. Hemit killed one officer and wounded another, Xinhua said. [Ibid]
Doubts were raised over the official versions of events. Officials said two Uighur men were responsible for killing 16 paramilitary officers in the city of Kashgar by hitting them with a truck, setting off homemade explosives and attacking with machetes. But foreign tourists who witnessed the event and took photographs of it told The New York Times that there were no explosions and that the men wielding machetes appeared to be wearing uniforms.
In interviews in September, three foreign tourists who were in the Barony Hotel, across the street from the site of the assault, gave details of the attack to The New York Times.The tourists confirmed that the truck plowed into the officers, leaving many dead and injured. But they said they did not hear multiple explosions afterward. Furthermore, they said they saw paramilitary officers using machetes to attack what appeared to be other men with the same green security uniforms. The men with the machetes mingled freely with other officers afterward, the tourists said. One of the foreign tourists, a man who provided photos of the assault to two Western news organizations, said in September that he had seen a severely injured man tumble out of the driver’s seat after the truck rammed the officers. The driver crawled around and did not appear to be in any condition to carry out further attacks, the tourist said. [Ibid]
Chinese officials said the attack was carried out by members of ETIM. Some scholars doubted this and said the claim was made to give the government an excuse to crackdown on Uighurs before the Olympics and strengthen their grasp on the region. Some believe the attack was more likely carried by disgruntled individuals, not part of an organized terrorist group, that have some grievance with the police.
Two Japanese reporters in Kashgar, investigated the attack two days before the beginning of the Olympics were detained for two hours, roughed up (one of the reporters said he was kicked in the face) and had their equipment destroyed. Three unattributed photographs---possibly taken by a tourist at a nearby hotel and released by AP a couple weeks after the incident’show dead police officers on the ground and overturned truck. They appear to support the Chinese account of the attack.
Attack in Kuqa
In August, two days after the Olympics began, bombers hit 17 sites---including a police station, government building, bank and shops---in the ancient Silk Road city of Kuqa in Xinjiang, leaving 12 dead, including a security guard, a bystander and 10 attackers, including a woman. Another woman attacker, who was injured, and a man were captured. Three men escaped. Of the attackers that died, eight were killed by police and two blew themselves up. The involvement of women in the attack was unusual.
The attackers in Kuqa---using homemade bombs made of bent pipes, gas canisters and liquid gas tanks---launched bombing attacks and fought with police in raids between 2:00am and 8:00am. In the largest attack, attackers drove a three-wheeled vehicle carrying explosives into a compounds of the public security bureau at about 2:30am. An explosion followed that killed a security guard, injured two policemen and two civilians and destroyed two police vans. Police open fired on the attackers, killing one. Another blew himself up. A third was captured. Six hours later five other attackers were found hiding under a counter in market. The men hurled bombs at police, who shot and killed two men while the other three killed themselves. A 15-year-old girl was wounded while throwing an explosive in the western town of Kuqa, Xinhua reported.
Kuqa is popular with foreign tourist who come to view Buddhist caves on the outskirt of the city. One 45-year-old resident told the New York Times, “I woke up to the sounds of blasts, one after another. First I head several blasts, then I heard some gunshots. One of my son’s classmates who lives in another neighborhood even had a piece of bomb fall on his doorstep.” A local Uighur working at a shop told the Yomiuri Shimbun, “Every time a bomb exploded, police vehicles rushed to the scene. I thought something extraordinary must have happened.” No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
Other Attacks in Xinjiang Around the Time of 2008 Olympics
Two days after the Kuqa attack, three security officers were stabbed to death and another wounded in an attack at a checkpoint in the town of Yamanya about 30 kilometers from Kashgar. In the attack, one or more assailants jumped off a vehicle passing the road check point and stabbed the officers. In the Yamanya attack the two police officers that were killed and the five who were wounded were ethnic Uighurs searching for a woman suspected of involvement in earlier violence. The attackers were also Uighurs. Brandishing knives, they set upon a group of unarmed police officers as the officers were walking through a cornfield in the village of Qizilboy, a local policeman told the New York Times. This attack suggested that some of the recent violence in Xinjiang could be aimed at Uighurs seen by other Uighurs as collaborators with the ethnic Han Chinese. [Source: Edward Wong, New York Times, September 2, 2008]
The policeman in Qizilboy declined to give further details about the woman the police were seeking. A report by Radio Free Asia, identified her as Anargul, 22, and said that she was suspected of aiding the people who carried out the checkpoint attack. The report said that she was the daughter of Amangul, a 50-year-old woman arrested after that attack. There are other indications that women might be playing a prominent role in the violence unfolding in Xinjiang.
In late August 2008, after the Olympics were over, an attack in a village Jiashi County in Xinjiang, left two policemen dead and seven injured. The attackers’seven men and one woman’suddenly leapt out and attacked the officers, armed with clubs, while they were searching a corn field for a woman believed to be a member of a separatist cells. One was captured.
All of the officers who were attacked where Uighurs not Han Chinese. One of them told the Washington Post by phone, “I heard my colleague yell to me, “Run, run!”...I saw one person carrying a knife pursuing me. I escaped very quickly through a field to get though to a village.”
Police identified the cornfield attackers as being members of the same group that carried out the attacks that left three security officers dead. Three days later police said they found the alleged attackers near Kashgar, again in a cornfield, and shot six of them dead and wounded three as they tried to defend themselves with knives, and arrested them. Uighur groups say the suspects were gunned down with submachine guns after they surrendered.
Eighteen Killed in July 2011 Attack in Hotan
In mid July 2011, at least 18 people were killed when rioters, some armed with homemade explosives, attacked a police station in the city of Hotan, Xinhua reported at the time. Fourteen of those killed were rioters. According to some reports a group of Uighurs stormed a police station in Hotan, 300 miles (500 kilometers) southeast of Kashgar, and took hostages. Police shot 14 rioters who attacked the police station. Two hostages and two policemen were killed. China says the incidents were organized terror attacks, but an overseas Uighur rights group says they were antigovernment riots carried out by angry citizens. Hotan is home to 300,000 people, 88 percent of whom are minorities, mostly Uighurs, according to the city’s website. [Source: Reuters, July 20, 2011]
Reuters reported: “Police in the desert city of Hotan “gunned down” several rioters who attacked a police station, Xinhua said. ...However, a Germany-based exile group, World Uyghur Congress, disputed the official account. It said 20 Uighurs were killed---14 were beaten to death and 6 shot dead---and 70 arrested when police opened fire on a peaceful protest, leading to fighting between the two sides. The two accounts could not be independently resolved.
State television said the latest incident took place when a mob attacked a police station, taking hostages and setting it on fire. Two hostages, a paramilitary policeman and a guard died in the violence, as well as several of the attackers, it reported. Six hostages were freed. “It is certain that it was a terrorist attack,” Hou Hanmin, chief of the regional information office, told reporters by telephone. “But as for which organization is behind this, we are still investigating. The number of people killed and casualties will be announced soon.”
The Global Times, a popular tabloid owned by the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, quoted Hou as saying that the rioters “carried explosive devices and grenades. They first broke into the offices of the local administration of industry and commerce and the taxation bureau that are close to the police station,” the report cited Hou as saying. “They injured two persons there.When they realized the targets were wrong, they started to attack the police station from the ground floor to the second floor, where they showed a flag with separatist messages.” The attackers set the police station on fire before killing hostages during a stand-off with armed police, she was quoted as saying.
Dilxat Raxit of the World Uyghur Congress said he believed the death toll and the number of injured were likely to escalate. “All forms of protests by Uighurs are met with violent crackdowns. The clash escalated only after the crackdown and the Chinese government later referred to it as act of “terrorism,” he said. “The Chinese government consistently uses the term “terrorism” to quieten down the demands of the Uighurs.”
Eighteen Killed in Two July 2011 Attacks in Kashgar
In late July, at least 13 people were killed (some reports said 21 people were killed) and 44 injured in two separate incidents in Kashgar involving violence among attackers, civilians and the police, Xinhua reported. Officials in Kashgar said a leader of one of the assault groups had trained in Pakistan. On July 30, two Uighur men hijacked a truck stopped at a red light, killed its driver, and drove into a crowd of pedestrians in a busy night market. They got out of the truck and stabbed six people to death and injured 27 others. One of the attackers was killed by the crowd; the other was brought into custody.
AP reported “two knife-wielding men hijacked a truck and then rammed the vehicle into a crowd and got out to attack the pedestrians, sparking clashes that killed seven people and injured 22, a police official said... The attackers' identities and motive were unclear. State-run Xinhua News Agency reported that two blasts were heard about an hour before the incident Saturday night---one from a minivan and the other from the food stall-lined street where the hijacking took place. [Source: Louise Watt , Associated Press, July 31, 2011]
A police official from the information office of the Xinjiang regional public security bureau, said two men hijacked a truck and stabbed the driver to death. The men then drove the truck into a crowd, got out of the vehicle and attacked people along the road with a knife or knives. People who came under attack retaliated, and one of the suspects was killed and the other caught, the official said. Authorities said the perpetrators had prepared for the attacks at a training camp inside Pakistan.
An overseas Uighur advocacy group said that according to information received from Uighurs in Kashgar, most of Saturday's dead and injured were members of a security force that helps the police maintain order. "I am worried that authorities may detain more Uighurs by making use of this incident," Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress, said in an email to The Associated Press.
On July 31, a “group of armed terrorists” stormed into downtown Kashgar restaurant and killed two people---the restaurant owner and a waiter---inside of the restaurant and set the restaurant on fire. The attackers then ran outside the restaurant and stabbed civilains indiscriminately, leaving four other people dead and injuring 15 other people. In some reports two explosions produced with homemade explosives started the fire in the restaurant. This attracted police and firefighters who rushed to the scene and were attacked with used knives. Police opened fire and shot five suspects dead, detained four, and killed two others who initially escaped arrest. [Source: Associated Press]
Kashgar Attackers “Trained in Pakistan for Holy War” “
Barbara Demick wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “Kashgar's local government said on its website Monday that one of the attackers had confessed to receiving training in explosives and firearms at a camp in Pakistan run by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a group opposed to Chinese rule in western China.” [Source: Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, August 02, 2011]
"The suspects harbored thoughts of religious extremism. The outbreak of violence was absolutely no random occurrence," the Kashgar municipality said in Monday's statement. "They wanted to disturb social stability, incite ethnic hatred and create conflicts between ethnic groups in order to split Xinjiang from the motherland," it said.
Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based professor, said the violence could have been conducted or influenced by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. He told the Los Angeles Times, "These attacks in Kashgar might have been inspired by its ideology, or they might have received some technical training" from the movement, said Gunaratna, one of the few experts on the group. He added, though, that the movement had been weakened by the killing of its leader, Hasan Mahsum, in a counter-terrorism operation conducted by the Pakistani army in 2003. "Keep in mind that the [East Turkestan Islamic Movement] today is a very weak organization with under two dozen members who travel back and forth between China and Pakistan," he said.
“Police are everywhere in the city. We do feel scared, but less so because of the police presence," Liu Liming, 32, a hotel clerk who migrated to Kashgar from Hunan province, told the Los Angeles Times. "There have been some cancellations of bookings at our hotel because of the attacks. This month is usually a popular season for tourists."
Chinese authorities virtually closed down the city after the attacks. Most photographs and witness accounts were immediately deleted from Twitter-like microblogs. "All the shops are closed. There're no street vendors either. Please, everyone pay attention to Kashgar! I don't want my hometown's momentum of growth to be put out like this before it gets a chance to take off," wrote one person who was able to file a posting under the name Han Xiao. "Everyone in this city knows what happened. You can delete our blog posts, but can you delete the anger in our hearts?" wrote another.
Turkistan Islamic Party Takes Credit for 2011 Kashgar and Hotan Attacks
The Turkistan Islamic Party has claimed responsibility in an online video for recent violent attacks that killed dozens in China’s western Xinjiang region, according to an American organization that tracks militant activity. The American organization, the SITE Intelligence, posted the video, by the Turkistan Islamic Party, on its Web site, reporting that it had been issued in late August. In the video, according to SITE, the group’s leader, Abdul Shakoor Damla, claimed that attacks in July in Hotan and Kashgar, two southern Xinjiang cities, were acts of revenge for the Chinese government’s repression of the region’s ethnic Uighur population. [Source: Michael Wines, New York Times September 8, 2011]
Michael Wines wrote in the New York Times, “The Turkistan Islamic Party has previously made similar claims that remain unverified. Its highest-profile threat, to disrupt the 2008 Beijing Olympics with chemical, biological or conventional weapons, was never carried out. Some terrorism experts remain concerned about the group’s threats, and its members have been linked to other Islamic militants, including Al Qaeda. But one Chinese analyst,Zhao Guojun of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, was cautious. While the group could have carried out the attacks, Mr. Zhao said the claim was probably made to blow a “trumpet for themselves.” “It’s a way to increase their influence,” he said.
The latest video shows a Uighur man identified as Memeti Tiliwaldi at what is said to be a terrorist training camp, probably somewhere in Afghanistan or in Pakistan’s lawless region near the border with China. Chinese police officials reported in early August that they had shot and killed Mr. Tiliwaldi, 29, after he was identified as one of those who staged a series of attacks in Kashgar on July 30 and 31, which left at least 18 people dead.
While the attacks in Hotan and Kashgar almost certainly were planned in advance, some analysts have noted that they bore few of the hallmarks of the actions of a sophisticated terrorist group. For the most part, the attackers’ weapons were knives and automobiles that they drove into crowds of bystanders. The bombs detonated in the Kashgar attacks also appeared to be comparatively primitive.
Xinjiang Crackdown in 2011 After the Kashgar and Hotan Attacks
Xinjiang has been under a security crackdown since early July 2011, when an attack and battle at a police station in Hotan killed 18 people, most identified as Uighur attackers. After the Kashgar attacks Chinese Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu ordered officials to mobilize all available resources and manpower to create a “high-pressure environment” in which to contain terrorism, official newspapers reported. “Those criminals who dare test the law with their persons and carry out violent terrorist acts, we will punish harshly, showing no mercy and never being soft,” Meng said at an anti-terrorism conference in Urumqi. [Source: Associated Press, August 6, 2011]
Meng urged authorities to work to prevent violence in villages and cities though education and intelligence gathering. He vowed prosecutions for anyone threatening lives or property, pushing for separatism or undermining relations between minority Uighurs and majority Han Chinese settlers in the region. ‘stick out your antennae, weave a tight web of prevention and wipe out the hot beds of violent terrorism at their roots,” said Meng.
In August 2011, Chinese security forces launched a two-month "strike hard" crackdown against violence, terrorism and radical Islam following renewed ethnic violence in Xinjiang. AP reported: “The campaign, which began on 11 August and will last until 15 October, includes around-the-clock patrols of troublespots, identity checks and street searches of people and vehicles, according to a notice posted on the regional government's website. “[Source: Associated Press, The Guardian August 17, 2011]
Authorities would step up investigations of suspicious activity and deal with defendants even more harshly through accelerated trials, the notice said. "Public security units at all levels across the region must strengthen the work of security, take strict precautions, and create fear and awe," it said. The crackdown came on the heels of three incidents in the cities of Hotan and Kashgar that left at least three dozen people dead, including the attackers.
The region's police department conceded that the number of violent incidents was on the rise and pledged to "uncover the masterminds and organisers behind such activities". "The frequency with which terrorist activities are carried out in the region is rising and it must be curbed," the department said in a statement. China rolls out campaigns on a regular basis despite criticism from rights groups and imposes tougher penalties for crimes from theft to endangering state security.
Signalling the authorities' determination to crush all opposition, Beijing dispatched to Xinjiang its elite Snow Leopard anti-terrorism unit, which was charged with securing the 2008 Beijing Olympics and specialises in anti-terrorism, riot control, bomb disposal and responding to hijackings. The unit, based in Aksu city, roughly halfway between Kashgar and Urumqi, bolstered security for an annual trade fair in Urumqi, in the first week in September, along with National Day celebrations on 1 October.
In addition to the security forces, Zhu said 20,000 community workers have been employed in Urumqi to monitor the city's population and report suspected unrest. Each of the city's 550 communities has been allocated 160,000 yuan (£15,000) annually to support their efforts, he said. "We are able to handle any kind of emergencies immediately, preventing the violence from spreading and the mob from growing," Urumqi's Communist Party boss Zhu Hailun said.
“Xinjiang Plots Foiled? in August 2011
In late August 2011, Chinese security forces said they “foiled sabotage plots” against the China-Eurasia Expo---a Xinjiang trade fair in Urumqi. Urumqi's Communist Party boss Zhu Hailun said police had dealt with a number of threats to public safety in recent weeks in the run-up to the Expo. Guests at the event included Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, and Kyrgyzstan's caretaker president, Roza Otunbayeva. The exhibition was aimed at cementing Urumqi's status as central Asia's trade hub, despite a sometimes violent insurgency among its native Muslim population. Vice-premier Li Keqiang formally opened the exhibition with no reports of disturbances. [Source: Associated Press, The Guardian September 1, 2011]
One man attempted to take a knife on board a flight departing from Urumqi airport and is now being held on suspicion of planning to carry out an attack during the flight, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency. "There have been many similar cases of attacks being blocked by police," said Zhu. "Separatists, religious extremists and terrorists have been plotting to sabotage the expo." He did not elaborate. Zhu was appointed to his position after deadly riots in 2009 and is expected to maintain stability while selling Urumqi as the region's business hub.
Security in Xinjiang has been ramped up for the five-day trade fair, with SWAT units deployed and a low-altitude no-fly zone declared over the city. Even racing pigeons are banned. Travellers flying to Urumqi from Beijing, Shanghai and other cities are facing more security checks and delays.
Uighurs Sentenced to Death for 2011 Kashgar and Hotan Attacks
In September 2011, Associated Press reported: “Four ethnic minority men have been sentenced to death in connection with violent attacks in July that left dozens dead in the far western region of Xinjiang. The four were sentenced to death by courts in Hotan and Kashgar, the cities where the attacks occurred, according to the China Daily newspaper. Two other men were given 19-year jail terms, it said.
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress, said sources in Xinjiang told him the suspects sentenced Tuesday were beaten and deprived of sleep in custody and that they were given court-appointed lawyers instead of being allowed to choose their own. He said the suspects were "desperate people who took measures they should not have taken," but he denied they had links to organized terror. "For 10 years, China has labeled any kind of Uighur opposition as terrorism" Dilxat said Thursday. "Han Chinese who cause explosions or kill people are said to be involved in mass incidents or criminal activities. They are not called terrorists."
The Chinese-language Xinjiang Legal Daily said in a report on the Tianshan.net news portal that the six men sentenced had been charged with leading and organizing a terror group, manufacturing illegal explosives, intentional homicide, arson and "other crimes."
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Last updated July 2015