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China: 9 terror suspects killed in restive Xinjiang region

Story highlights

  • Xinjiang region has history of friction between Han Chinese and Uyghurs, a Muslim people
  • China has blamed recent spate of attacks in Xinjiang on separatists
  • Uyghurs complain of discrimination and harsh treatment by security forces in Xinjiang

Nine terror suspects were killed and another was captured in the volatile northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang on Friday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing police.

No details were immediately available about the deaths in Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture, who the suspects were or what they were accused of doing.

Chinese authorities have stepped up security measures in Xinjiang following several recent attacks in the region, which has been the scene of ethnic strife between the indigenous Uyghurs, a mainly Turkic-speaking Muslim population, and Han Chinese.

On Monday, a gang wielding knives and axes killed and injured dozens of people in southern Xinjiang, Xinhua reported. Police shot and killed dozens of suspects in that incident, according to Xinhua.

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A suicide bombing in May killed 39 people at a street market in the region's capital, Urumqi. Another apparent suicide bombing left three dead in April at an Urumqi train station.

The Chinese government has blamed recent violent incidents in Xinjiang on Uyghur separatists seeking to establish an independent state.

    Waves of Han Chinese have flocked to the resource-rich region, fueling tensions with the Uyghurs, who regard themselves as culturally and ethnically closer the people of nations bordering western China, such as Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Xinjiang is now home to more than 8 million Han Chinese, up from 220,000 in 1949, and 10 million Uyghurs. Unemployment among Uyghurs is high, and they complain of discrimination and harsh treatment by security forces.