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In Clash, Police In China's Muslim Region Kill At Least 14

Chinese police killed at least 14 people during a clash on Sunday in a Muslim region of the country, USA Today reports, citing state media.

The paper adds:

"The attackers killed two policemen late Sunday when police were arresting "criminal suspects" in a township near the Silk Road city of Kashgar, reported Tianshan, a local government news portal.

"Police 'decisively handled' the attack, shooting the assailants and arresting two suspects, it said.

"Xinjiang, China's huge slice of Central Asia, experiences regular bouts of unrest. Many of its mostly Muslim Uighur people resent the political and economic domination of their homeland by China's ruling Communist Party and the majority Han ethnic group."

As we've reported, tensions between the government and the Uighur people came to the forefront after the government accused "jihadists" of a deadly car crash that killed two tourists and injured 40 others in Tiananmen Square in October.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Chinese government portrayed Sunday's incident as the "true face of violent terror."

The Times adds:

Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman based in Sweden for the World Uyghur Congress, disputed the Chinese government's account and said the clash broke out when the Peoples' Armed Police, a paramilitary group, went to break up a gathering of Uighurs at a home.

"'The local government is opposed to Uighurs gathering,' Rexit said. 'The government at least used to arrest Uighurs and put them on trial and they had some chance of surviving. Now it's obvious — they just shoot them on the spot.'"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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