BEIJING: Riots in China’s ethnically divided Xinjiang have left at least 27 dead in the latest outbreak of violence in the troubled western region, according to state media which said police opened fire on “knife-wielding mobs.”
Police opened fire on mobs attacking a police station and a local government building, Xinhua news agency said, citing local officials.
“Seventeen people had been killed . . . before police opened fire and shot dead 10 rioters,” it said.
Others were injured and were rushed to a local hospital, the report said.
The clashes occurred in an area about 100 kilometers from the desert city of Turpan and about 280 kilometers from the regional capital Urumqi.
Xinjiang, a region about twice the size of Turkey, is home to around nine million members of the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority, many of whom complain of religious and cultural repression by Chinese authorities. The region is regularly hit by unrest.
China reported that 21 people died in clashes between police and locals in the region in April.
Chinese authorities have blamed recent clashes on “terrorists,” and recently jailed nine people in the region for “religious extremism.”