Chinese authorities said 13 assailants died and three police officers were injured Saturday in an attack on a police station in the far western region of Xinjiang.
The state-run media said a truck was driven into the station and explosives were detonated in the incident that took place in Yecheng county in the southern part of Xinjiang in the vicinity of Kashgar. The official New China News Agency described the attackers as “mobsters” and “gangsters” and identified those injured as police. Police shot all 13 assailants dead at the scene, according to the news agency.
Xinjiang is home to the Uighur ethnic minority, a Turkic-speaking Muslim group. Tensions between Uighurs and China’s Han ethnic majority have been on the rise, and a string of violent incidents and deadly terrorist attacks have been recorded throughout the province in recent months, including a bomb blast at a train station and explosions at a morning market.
Provincial authorities as well as officials in Beijing have vowed to crack down on “extremism, splittism and terrorism” in the region and the government has offered rewards of more than $16,000 for tips related to such activities.
"The thugs drove a truck to ram the building of the public security bureau ... and set off explosvies," reported Tianshan, a government-run news site for northwestern Xinjian.
As has been the case in past incidents, details were difficult to confirm. Uighur activists complain that Chinese police routinely open fire on protesters, while China says police have only acted to defend themselves in cases of direct attack.
On Friday, State Internet Information Office launched a fresh campaign against online audio and video materials that it said were inspiring greater numbers of people to commit terrorist acts.
"These materials, which propagate Jihad, terrorism and religious extremism, have been spread incessantly in China," the office said in a statement. "They have had a strong instigation effect and are extremely harmful.”
The news agency said that more than 30 websites, including major portals such as Sina, Tencent, Baidu and Taobao, signed a letter of commitment on Friday pledging to delete such information from their websites.
The agency quoted Zhao Tian, deputy editor-in-chief of Sina.com as saying that her company was training employees to censor terrorism-related websites and that "fighting against online terror audio and video materials is our most important political task now."
In 2009, following riots in Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi that left about 200 people dead, Chinese authorities highly restricted Internet access across the province for 10 months. Text messaging and international calling were also extremely limited for months.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
8:49 a.m. PDT June 21: This post was updated to add details on the attack.
This post was originally published at 7:21 a.m.