China: 5 dead in Xinjiang knife attack as Uiguhur-Han Chinese strife festers

The authorities say the society is stable and the investigations are going on.

5 dead, another 5 injured by knife-wielding attackers in China's Xinjiang
Representational Image Reuters

At least five people were killed and five more were injured by three knife-wielding attackers in China's far western region of Xinjiang before. The attackers were later killed by the police in the restive Chinese province that borders Central Asia.

The attack took place on Tuesday evening in Pishan county in the southern part of Xinjiang, the government of Hotan prefecture said on Wednesday. "At present, social order is normal at the site, society is stable, and investigation work is under way," the statement said. However, it did not give any further details about the attackers or their motive behind the attack.

Hundreds of people have been killed in recent years in resource-rich Xinjiang, which is situated on the borders of central Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. The attacks are seen as an offshoot of the conflict between the ethnic Uighur minority and majority Han Chinese. China denies any sort of repression in Xinjiang.

The Chinese government has routinely blamed the separatist Islamist militants in Xinjiang for the violence. But rights groups and exiles claim that anger at Chinese suppression of religion the Uighur Islamic culture is the cause of the strife.

Pishan, also known as Guma in Uighur, has witnessed several attacks in recent years. In 2011, the police killed seven people whom they described as kidnappers aligned with a terror group.

According to Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress exile group, the latest incident was another example of Chinese repression. He said there was no way for people to show peaceful dissent. "Any provocation could lead to a clash," Raxit said in an e-mailed statement.

In December, five people were killed when attackers drove a vehicle into a government building. Last month, the authorities said that the police shot three of those terror suspects dead.