Mass rioting in the Western Chinese region of Xinjiang has left scores dead and many people injured. Nine of the dead are Police officers, the remainder civilians.
It is reported that knife-wielding mobs attacked police stations and government buildings. The police response was harsh as they shot into the crowd in an attempt to disburse them.
The Xinhua news agency said that: "Seventeen people had been killed... before police opened fire and shot dead 10 rioters."
According to eyewitness reports, the angry mob were stabbing people randomly and setting fire to police card.
This otherwise peaceful western region of China is no stranger to violence. In 2009, over 200 were killed in mass riots similar to this one. The Xinjiang region has a large minority of Muslim Uighurs and has seen sporadic violence in recent years.
It is hard to ascertain the exact cause of the rioting in western China, especially as all media is state run. The Chinese authorities have remained tight-lipped and ambiguous about the riots. Even calls to the regional spokesperson, Hou Hanmin, have gone unanswered.
Twenty-one people including 15 police officers were killed back in April of this year in a town close to Kashgar, also in the Western Chinese region of Xinjiang in similar mob rioting.
An eyewitness was contacted by phone at the scene of the riots in western China. He refused to give his name out of fear from the government but said on the call: "People are not being allowed to walk around on the streets."
According to Dilxat Raxit, an Uighur activist, the recent riots were triggered by the Governments "sustained repression and provocation" of the Uighur people. It is claimed that they suffer gross discrimination when looking for jobs and that their freedom of religious practice is denied.
The communist Chinese government denies the allegation made against it and says it affords full, equal rights to all of it's citizens.
Do you think this latest round of Rioting in Western China is spontaneous? Or do think that Government policies which discriminate against minorities are the cause of the violence? Your comments below.
(Photo Credit: Japantoday.com)