At least 50 dead as militant and separatist attacks dominate Xinjiang, north-western China. Security in the far-western region of China is on a drastic decline. The north-western province of Xinjiang has had a troubled past and the situation does not seem to be getting any better.
According to Radio Free Asia’s report on Thursday, more than 50 people were killed in a coal mine attack in Xinjiang in September. A senior official further warned that the state of security was wanting as the region was prone to violence.
The attack happened on Sept. 18 at the Sogan colliery in Asku, claiming the lives of at least 50 people, most of whom were members of the Han Chinese ethnic group. Authorities at the scene blamed the attack from the knife-wielding attackers as members of a separatist group in the region.
This occurred as China marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The ethnic minority communities celebrated the anniversary by holding festivities across the provinces. The state television portrayed images of happy nationals embracing their ethnic diversity and putting aside their differences.
Yu Zhengsheng, a leader in the Communist party and in charge of religious groups and ethnic minorities, urged authorities to put measures in place to maintain peace in the region and prevent the escalating security threats. He said this during the Wednesday anniversary celebrations in Urumqi, the regional capital.
During a live television broadcast, Zhengsheng said, “We must fully recognise that Xinjiang faces a very serious situation in maintaining long-term social stability, and we must make a serious crackdown on violent terror activities the focal point of our struggle.”
The Chinese government admitted that it faces serious imminent threats from extremists in Xinjiang, a region highly valued due to energy production. Hundreds of people have died in this region in the recent past, and the situation does not seem to be getting any better.
According to exiles and rights groups, however, there is no evidence pointing to the existence of a militant or separatist group fighting the government. They said that the cause of these threats stems back to the cultural and religious frustrations and mismanagement of the Uygur people living in Xinjiang. Beijing seems to disagree with this claim.
Radio Free Asia said that police officers and their vehicles were attacked when they arrived at the mine. Ekber Hashim, a police officer, said, “Nearly all the workers who were not on shift at the time were killed or injured.” He added that the attackers raided the officers’ building after killing the guards.