Map: Wikimedia Commons
At least 13 people were killed during rioting in Xinjiang province on Monday during the first day of Eid celebrations in this minority Muslim region of China.
Uyghurs attacked police stations and destroyed about a dozen police cars starting at midnight on Sunday evening in Yarkant County close to the border with Tajikistan, said a source on condition of anonymity.
The violence lasted 24 hours before 1,500 military personnel dispatched to this remote northwestern corner of the country could bring the situation under control on the first day of the Eid festival which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
“Civil servants of all ethnicities in Urumqi [Xinjiang’s state capital] and surrounding cities received an emergency notice yesterday that they have to work as normal today,” said the source.
Many people who live in Yarkant, also known as Shache, are ethnic minority Muslim Ughurs. The 13 dead were believed to be majority Han Chinese, reported the BBC’s Chinese language service.
China maintained a media blackout on Tuesday as state newspapers and television channels failed to report the rioting while Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, deleted related messages.
Reports have indicated rising anger in Xinjiang leading up to Eid celebrations after the central government banned civil servants from observing the Ramadan fast while also encouraging Muslim students to eat, among other restrictions aimed at Muslims already in place.
This week’s violence comes just two months after the government announced a one-year crackdown in Xinjiang following a spate of violence including attacks in Urumqi in April and May that left a combined 34 people dead and more than 170 injured.