Clashes between different ethnic groups in China’s western Xinjiang region on Wednesday have left at least 18 people dead and many more injured, marking the latest incident in the battle between the indigenous people and the Chinese government.
Radio Free Asia has reported that ethnic Muslim Uighurs attacked police with knives and bombs at a traffic checkpoint in the southern city of Kashgar, where tensions between the minority Uighurs and majority Han Chinese has led to bloodshed over recent years.
Several police officers were stabbed to death and others killed by bombs thrown from a speeding car that crashed through a traffic checkpoint. Fifteen of the attackers who police described as” terrorists” were killed by Police.
The fact that the attack occurred during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, is controversial on its own after increases in deadly attacks over recent years which have claimed hundreds of lives, and which the Chinese Government has blamed on Islamist militants.
Uighur groups in exile and human rights groups blame government policies which place limits on Islam and Uighur culture for the unrest. These claims have been denied by the Government.