Chinese police shot and killed six rioters who were planting explosives in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, a website run by the local government’s press office reported yesterday.
Six other protesters died after setting off a blast while police were responding to a terrorist attack on Jan. 24 in the Xinhe county of Aksu prefecture, the report on Tianshan net said.
The incidents follow an attack on a police station in the region on Dec. 30 in which eight people died, and another in June that claimed 24 lives. The Communist Party of China Central Committee Political Bureau on Jan. 24 named President Xi Jinping to head the newly elected national security committee, Xinhua News Agency said, as the government tries to quell rising public discontent.
Tensions between the Muslim Uighur minority and Han Chinese in Xinjiang have led to an increase in violent clashes in the area.
On Dec. 30, police killed eight people who attacked their station in Shache county. Two weeks earlier, 14 rioters and two police officers were killed in a confrontation in Shufu county. In June, at least 35 people, including two policemen, died when rioters attacked police stations in Shanshan county. Eleven of the assailants were killed, police said.
The authorities responded by cracking down on what they said were dissident voices. Police detained Ilham Tohti, an academic in Beijing and a member of ethnic Uighur minority, earlier this month.
Tohti used a website to spread separatist thoughts and advocate the independence of Xinjiang, the Urumqi Public Security Bureau said in a statement yesterday on its official account with Weibo, a microblog service. He also exploited his role as a teacher and sent people abroad to participate in separatist activities, it said.