Dozens of arrests after violence in Xinjiang

Empty market in Yecheng, after the violence on Feb. 28th.

Security forces in China have made dozens of arrests following clashes in the region of Xinjiang on Tuesday.

Xinhua news agency reported that twelve people had died in Yecheng County, near the city of Kashgar, where in recent months have seen an escalation of tension between Uighur and Han.

Xinhua said that ten of the victims were stabbed dead by a group of protesters, while the other two were murderers been shot dead by the police. The official news agency did not report the cause of the fighting. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei denounced that the World Uyghur Congress was behind the attack.

It was reported that after the incident, police carried out a raid and has made dozens of arrests.

The Uighurs are Muslims, and also have other cultural differences with the Han, the ethnic majority in China, so the disputes are common. The clashes of July 2009 in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, has left 197 dead, most victims were Han, according to official figures.

The strengthening of security measures that followed this wave of violence has angered the Uighurs, which account for 40 percent of Xinjiang’s population of 21 million, although mostly in Kashgar and other southern cities.