Shroud of Silence Over June Clashes in Xinjiang

Andrew Jacobs reports for the The New York Times that residents of the Xinjiang town of Hanerik fear speaking out, weeks after witnessing police kill “scores” of Muslim protestors in one of two major clashes in Xinjiang in June:

Those not detained in the police sweep that followed the violence say they have been threatened with labor camp if they speak about what happened on the afternoon of June 28, when hundreds of villagers, angered by the detention of a young imam, tried to march to the prefectural capital four miles to the south.

“We’re all too afraid to talk about it,” said one elderly man near Hanerik’s outdoor market just after sunrise one recent morning. Another man drew a finger across his throat and apologized for his silence before speeding away on a scooter. [Source]

According to a Radio Free Asia report on Sunday—so far unconfirmed by other sources—police in Kashgar killed at least another fifteen Uyghurs accused of terrorism and illegal religious activity on August 20th:

They were among a group of more than 20 Uyghurs surrounded and fired upon by police in a lightning raid last week in the Yilkiqi township in Kargilik (in Chinese, Yecheng) county in Kashgar prefecture, the sources said.

“We conducted an anti-terror operation on August 20th, successfully and completely destroying the terrorists,” Yilkiqi township police chief Batur Osman told RFA’s Uyghur Service.

He refused to give the number of Uyghurs killed in the shootout, saying many of them were from out of town and some were not carrying identification documents. [Source]

Read more about violence in Xinjiang including possible causes of the unrest via CDT.