Separatist Unrest Erupts in Chinese Border Regions
Fresh separatist unrest was reported Friday in China’s outlying regions, with a bloody clash in Muslim Xinjiang and the jailing of pro-independence activists in Buddhist Tibet after recent bomb attacks there.
State media said a police officer and a Muslim separatist were shot to death in a gun battle this week in Xinjiang, the latest in a series of violent clashes and political killings to jolt the vast, strategic frontier region in the far northwest.
Earlier this week, China was reported to have banned the construction of new mosques in the region populated mainly by members of the Uighur nationality and bordering Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Russia and three former Soviet Central Asian states.
In the latest incident, separatists wanted in an attack on a Muslim leader and government advisor shot to death one police officer and wounded another after being challenged by a police unit May 27, the China News Service said. The police killed one suspect and captured another, the news agency said.
In Buddhist Tibet, bordering Xinjiang, a Chinese court sentenced six Tibetans to up to five years in prison for seeking independence for the Himalayan region, according to a Tibet television report monitored by the BBC and seen in Beijing on Friday.
The court in Xigaze, Tibet’s second-largest city, announced the sentences at a recent rally, it said. All six defendants had “called for and incited for Tibetan independence,” it said, but gave no details of the activities for which they were jailed.