Rioting in Xinjiang Claims at Least 4 Lives

Posted July 18th, 2011 at 7:30 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese state media say at least four people were killed Monday when rioters attacked a police station in western Xinjiang province.

The official Xinhua news agency said the rioters attacked the police station in the city of Hotan, seizing hostages and setting the building on fire. It said additional police converged on the station and shot a number of rioters while freeing six hostages.

The agency said one policeman, a security guard and two hostages were killed. It said a number of hostages were taken to hospital.

Xinjiang in the past has been the scene of violent clashes between ethnic Han Chinese and its native Uighur population. The Chinese government says almost 200 people were killed during ethnic rioting in the region in 2009.

The Associated Press quoted a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress based in Germany saying he was told that the rioting began after police fired on a demonstration against illegal land seizures.

The spokesman said more than 100 Uighurs had gathered to protest the seizures and to seek information about relatives who disappeared after the 2009 riots.