World Bulletin / News Desk
Seven ethnic minority Uyghurs have been shot dead by police in separate clashes in China's restive northwestern region of East Turkistan (Xinjiang) and nine others detained for protesting against some of the killings, an exile Uyghur group said on Monday.
The shootings underscore a trend of increasing violence in East Turkistan, where the Muslim Uyghurs complain of discrimination and religious controls under Beijing’s rule, reported the Radio Free Asia.
Four died after police in Yarkand (in Chinese, Shache) county, which is administered by the Silk Road city of Kashgar, opened fire on a group of Uyghurs in a private residence last Thursday after suspecting them of "illegal assembly," the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress said.
"At around 6.00 p.m. on the evening of Oct. 3, armed personnel surrounded a residence in Abu Dona Village No. 16 and accused [the occupants] of illegal assembly," the group's Sweden-based spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an interview on Monday.
"They opened fire, killing four Uyghurs," he said.
The incident came after police opened fire on Uyghurs at a railway station and in a village in the same county during the previous week, Raxit said.
He said police had previously shot dead two residents of Abu Dona Village No. 29 on Sept. 26.
"And on Sept. 28, the police fired on suspects at Yarkand railway station, killing one Uyghur.
He said nine Uyghurs were also detained after they marched to the Yarkand county government offices on the Oct. 1 National Day holiday to protest the earlier killings.