World Bulletin/News Desk
Chinese police have detained 19 people and seized homemade explosives and weapons following a clash between residents and officials which killed 21 people last week in the East Turkestan (Xinjiang), state media reported.
The violence, in the heavily ethnic Uighur part of Xinjiang near the old Silk Road city of Kashgar, was the deadliest in the far western region since July 2009, when nearly 200 people were killed in capital of Urumqi.
The government has labelled the violence in Kashgar's Maralbexi county as a "terrorist attack", though the exiled World Uyghur Congress has said the shooting and killing of a young Uighur by "Chinese armed personnel" prompted the Uighurs to retaliate.
Many Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people who call energy-rich Xinjiang home, chafe at Chinese restrictions on their culture, language and religion.
Police have now rounded up 19 people in Kashgar, Urumqi and another part of Xinjiang called Bayingolin, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Monday.
Vice Minister of Public Security Meng Hongwei said police also seized homemade explosives, weapons and East Turkistan flags, Xinhua added.
A leading Uighur activist has questioned the official account of the incident. Local sources said police sparked it by shooting a Uighur youth during an illegal search of homes, according to Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress.
"China's unilateral accusations lack transparency and they are using so-called terrorism as an excuse to repress the Uighur people. The clash was a direct result of Chinese provocations," said World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit.
Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2013, 12:18