Three terrorism suspects shot dead in Xinjiang
Suspects were evading arrest when they were killed, according to the authorities
Three suspected terrorists were shot dead on Sunday night in China’s restive Xinjiang region while resisting arrest, its government said.
The shootings took place in Hotan while security officers were pursing the suspects and encountered violent resistance, the regional government said on its official news website.
The three were suspected of carrying out an attack two years ago in Pishan county in Hotan prefecture, but no details were given. Pishan has experienced some of the heaviest levels of attacks in the region.
The fatal shootings came less than two weeks after an attack in Karakax county in Hotan prefecture when a car rammed into the county government compound.
Police shot and killed the three attackers, who were wielding knives and managed to detonate a home-made explosive device, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
Xinjiang has been hit by a series of violent attacks in recent years, which the authorities blame on Islamist separatist rebels.
The region’s Communist Party chief, Chen Quanguo, staged a massive show of force in an anti-terrorism exercise last week.
He took the post last year and introduced a policy of sacking officials where attacks took place.
The Communist Party boss in Hotan prefecture and county chief in Karakax are under investigation for disciplinary breaches and alleged dereliction of duty after last month’s attack.
Chen previously worked in Tibet and has built a reputation as a hardliner.
Observers have warned his tough approach could inflame further unrest among the region’s Muslim Uygur ethnic minority group.
Measures introduced by the authorities include residents handing over their passports to the police and requiring officials’ permission to travel.