Increased Security after Violence in Xinjiang

The police have sealed off on Tuesday the center of Kashgar in Xinjiang province, after violence of terrorists over the weekend.

These incidents have again highlighted the ethnic tensions that exist in this region whose population is predominantly Muslim and Uighur. A score of anti-riot vehicles were deployed on People’s Square in the heart of the city, facing the giant statue of former Chairman Mao. Gendarmes marched on the square, which was empty but was open to the public.

Vehicles driven by Uighurs were checked

Armed men were assigned to roadblocks on main roads, stopping cars driven by the Uighurs, Turkic and Muslim people, Kashgar majority but a minority in the province of Xinjiang.

On Tuesday, the streets of downtown appeared calm in appearance. In one of the markets of the city, many Uighur traders selling food and scarves. “The situation is a little tight right now,” said a Uighur resident, who preferred anonymity, adding that the checks carried out by the security forces were established after the attacks began on Saturday night. “They check the identity and search for people armed with knives,” he said.

CCTV cameras in vehicles allow police to monitor the streets of the city. Loudspeakers perched on a van shouting orders in Mandarin: “An incident occurred on July 31 … Do not raise the rumors, do not spread them.” Large area of restaurants and shops where attacks have occurred, were always crowded. According to the Chinese, two Uighur suspects were shot dead by police late Monday night in the corn fields on the outskirts of Kashgar.

Silence over the deadly violence of the weekend

On Sunday, assailants attacked a restaurant in the city, killed the owner and the server, then stabbed four bystanders, according to the website of the Government of Kashgar. This is the latest outbreak of violence in date in the province of Xinjiang. On Tuesday, most of the media and websites in China have avoided talking about the deadly violence of the weekend.

The low coverage and uncompromising speeches about the death of suspects, Memtieli Tiliwaldi (买买提艾力·铁力瓦尔地) and Turson Hasan (吐逊·艾山), seem to provide an image of strength and avoid a backlash after wave of attacks in Xinjiang, said an analyst. The Chinese authorities have blamed “Islamist terrorists” who want to gain independence. The government said that those terrorists in this group were trained to use explosives and firearms at a camp in Pakistan before returning to China.