Four people have reportedly died in China’s far western Xinjiang Province after a knife attack on Thursday. Eight others were injured by multiple attackers, according to state media. A local official told Associated Press that one of the attackers was arrested.
The local Public Security Bureau declined to comment when contacted by NTD Television.
The attack happened as Chinese leaders gathered in Beijing for the 12th National People’s Congress. On Thursday, Xinjiang’s party chief says stability in the region is “under control.”
Local resident Mr. Li says authorities are now tightly restricting what information gets out.
Mr. Li, a resident in Korla, Xinjiang, said: “They haven’t announced any investigations. It won’t be made public, because this is a Uyghur area. They will try and minimize this incident.”
Xinjiang is home to ethnic Uyghurs who say ethnic Han Chinese are moving to the area in large numbers, and threatening their culture and religion.
The Chinese regime imposes heavy security in the region, claiming there are violent extremists working to separate Xinjiang. Activists say that the regime imposes restrictive religious and cultural policies that force them to protest. Ethnic tensions there continue to run high. In 2009, violent clashes between local Uyghur Muslims and Han Chinese killed around 200 people, according to state-run media.
The local Public Security Bureau has enforced a curfew in the city, according to Radio Free Asia.
Hong Kong’s Ming Pao said the dead were Han Chinese women and children. A female teacher who currently lives in Kashi City in Xinjiang told Ming Pao that a friend of hers, also a female teacher, was killed in the attack.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress, told Sound of Hope Radio that he received information about the clash on March 7. He said that some of his information channels were blocked by authorities.
Raxit said there was an escalating clampdown on ethnic Uyghurs in the region before the Two Meetings convened, and he was not surprised that violence has erupted during the period of the Two Meetings.
“In the name of stability maintenance, the authorities started randomly arresting and detaining Uyghurs even before the Two Meetings. The whole city is hostile to Uyghurs,” he said, “The tight security check has seriously interfered with people’s normal life. People have to be searched and questioned four to five times if they go out.”
With research by Jane Lin.