Just after riots in Turpan, Xinjiang killed 35 people, unrest broke out in southern Xinjiang. The unrest comes ahead of the fourth anniversary of violent riots in Urumqi, the regional capital, in which close to 200 people died. The New York Times reports:
The latest clash occurred in Hotan Prefecture, in the southern part of Xinjiang, whose population is predominantly Uighur. The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking group sharing many affinities with people across Central Asia, and most follow relatively moderate forms of Sunni Islam. Many Uighurs resent the growing number of Han Chinese people, who have been attracted to Xinjiang by jobs in farming, energy production and mining.
The clash on Friday is likely to alarm the Chinese government. It came just two days after a confrontation in Turpan Prefecture, another part of Xinjiang, left 35 people dead, according to the state-run news agency, Xinhua.
[…] Yang Shu, a Chinese professor who studies unrest in Xinjiang, said the recent violence reflected Uighur grievances about social inequalities and dislocation driven by economic modernization, the spreading influence of militant currents of Islam and the deterioration of ethnic relations since 2009. In July 2011, 18 people died when rioters in Hotan stormed a police station. [Source]
Few details are available about the causes of Friday’s violence, or if anyone was killed. The South China Morning Post reports:
News of the attack in the southern city of Hotan emerged late in the afternoon. A state television social media account said “the incident has been resolved and the number of casualties is being verified”.
Xinhua said: “A violent attack occurred on a pedestrian street in downtown Hotan city.” It cited “local authorities”.
Tianshanet, the official news portal run by Xinjiang’s publicity department, issued a report before midnight of an “armed gang fight” in a township under Hotan. It said the incident was soon subdued by police, “with no member of the public killed or hurt”, and officers had detained suspects.
However, a Han Chinese resident of Hotan, who works near the scene of yesterday’s attack, said: “There were several knife-wielding attackers hacking at people in the street in the city centre and several people were killed. But it was not clear how many were killed.” [Source]
Following the violence earlier this week in Turpan, the State Council Information Office issued directives banning reporting or commenting on the incident.