Uyghur Muslims in China have demanded an independent investigation into recent violence in the country’s restive far western region of Xinjiang, which claimed at least eight lives.
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC), based in Munich, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Xinjiang regional government should “fully disclose all information on the violence occurred on Monday and allow an independent investigation to be conducted by international organs.”
On Monday, December 30, Chinese security forces killed eight people, who the government said attacked a police station in the county, about 200 kilometers southeast of the old Silk Road city of Kashgar.
The Xinjiang government said in a statement that about nine armed men attacked a police station in the county, “throwing explosive devices and setting police cars on fire.” It also said that the police killed eight of the “attackers” and captured one, adding that 25 explosives and nine knives were also confiscated at the site of the incident.
The WUC called on Beijing to permit foreign media and government representatives to enter Sache County, where the incident took place, in order to “allow transparency surrounding the narrative of the incident.”
The organization alleged that the incident was part of Beijing’s efforts to silence Uyghurs’ dissent under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
“This incident testifies to a recent trend of state-sponsored violence used to quell Uyghur dissent, whereby authorities ignore due process of the law, shoot and kill Uyghurs, label them terrorists, and then use counter-terrorism to justify the unlawful killings,” WUC President Rebiya Kadeer said in a statement.
The Monday killings occurred as another 14 Uyghurs were shot dead during clashes with security forces in Shufu County of Xinjiang on earlier December 15.
Xinjiang, a large, resource-rich region and home to the mostly Muslim Uyghur ethnic people, has been the scene of numerous deadly clashes in recent years.
The Chinese government says that some groups in the Uyghur community are attempting to establish an independent state.