Four people detonated explosives at a Communist Party office in the far western region of Xinjiang, killing one person and injuring three others, according to local authorities who described it as a terrorist attack. The attackers were then shot dead by police.
The report in Tianshan Net, a news portal run by Communist Party officials in Xinjiang, is the first such publicly reported fatal attack in Xinjiang for months in a region where information is strictly controlled by authorities and reporting access has tightened over the past couple of years.
Xinjiang has seen violence against civilians in recent years that authorities have blamed on radicals among the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority seeking independence from Beijing.
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The report said four attackers drove vehicles into Moyu County’s Communist Party courtyard on Wednesday afternoon and detonated homemade explosives, killing one person and injuring three others. It said that police shot the four attackers dead at the scene and called it a ”terrorist attack.”
Xinjiang has been under heavy security since deadly riots in 2009 that pitted Uighurs against ethnic Chinese migrants. Those measures were tightened further following a wave of attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of China blamed on Uighur separatists adhering to a radical form of Islam.
In November 2015, police killed 28 people who authorities said had killed 11 civilians and five police officers at a remote coal mine in Asku controlled by members of China’s Han majority.
Some critics say the violence in Xinjiang stems from government policies that have marginalized the Uighurs, and also warn that Beijing’s harsh crackdown may be radicalizing some Uighurs.