Police, Rioters Clash in Western China; At Least Four Dead

At least four people were killed by police during a riot in Hotan, Xinjiang today. From the Los Angeles Times:

Authorities in the western frontier city of Hotan opened fire on a mob after it attacked a police station, set it on fire and took hostages, the report said.

One police official, a security guard and two hostages were killed in the incident, the report said.

Dilxat Raxit of the World Uyghur Congress told Reuters that police opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, which sparked the fighting.

“The people cannot stand the government’s repression any longer,” he told the news agency.

Simmering tension between the Han, China’s dominant ethnic group, and Xinjiang’s native Uighur minority, a Muslim, Turkic-speaking people, has led to violent clashes in the past.

BBC reports that the death toll may be higher:

At least eight hostages were held during the attack by “a mob” in the city of Hotan, state media said.

During a rescue operation two of the hostages, two security personnel and several attackers were killed.

A report from Xinhua says four were killed but gives no explanation of the cause of the violence:

Police gunned down several rioters who attacked a police station and killed four people in Hotan city of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Monday noon, sources with the Ministry of Public Security said.

Rioters broke into the police station shortly after 12 p.m.. They assaulted the police, took hostages and set fire to the station, according to the ministry.

A member of the armed police, a security personnel and two hostages were killed during the ordeal, the ministry said, adding that another security personnel was severely injured.

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