China’s Xinjiang region plagued by violent attacks that Beijing blames on Uygur separatists

Beijing claims Uygur separatists are trained as jihadists in Central Asia and Syria, but people in Muslim-dominated region complain about repressive policies

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 4:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 December, 2016, 12:01am

China’s western region of Xinjiang has been plagued by violent attacks over the years, which Beijing blames on Uygur separatists.

It has claimed Uygur separatists have gone to Central Asia and Syria for training as “jihadists” (holy warriors), and sneaked back to Xinjiang to plot attacks.

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However, some people from the Muslim-dominated region have complained about Beijing’s repressive policies, which they claim restrict religious freedom.

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Here we take a look at some of the violent attacks and riots in the region during past years.


March 7: Uygur woman, 19, tries to blow up passenger plane flying from Urumqi to Beijing, according to Ministry of Public Security

August 4: Sixteen police officers killed and 16 others hurt in Kashgar when two Uygurs ram truck into squad of jogging armed policemen, Xinhua reports


July 5: Clashes between Uygurs and Han Chinese leave 197 dead and more than 1,600 injured in Urumqi

September 16: Police detain six suspects for making more than 20 bombs, Public Security Ministry says; bombs and materials to make more explosives found at three sites on outskirts of Aksu


March 8: At least four people killed and eight others injured in knife attack in Korla in central Xinjiang, regional officials say. Fight was dispute over money at gaming arcade, The New York Times quotes local hotel manager as saying


July 28: Some 96 people die in Shache in riots that coincide with Eid al-Fitr holiday, according to official accounts, in what is deadliest violence in region in five years. According to officials, 37 civilians killed and 59 assailants shot dead by police. An additional 215 people arrested. Overseas Uygur rights group calls it massacre, saying thousands were killed


September 18: At least 50 people die, including five police officers, in attack on coal mine in central western county of Baicheng in Aksu, Radio Free Asia reports. Local police blame knife-wielding separatists