02/15/2017, 11.29
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Eight die in Xinjiang knife attack.

The three attackers killed by Chinese security forces. Five other people injured in the attack. Suspicion falls on Islamic Uighur separatists.


Beijing (AsiaNews) - Five people were killed and as many injured in a violent knife attack yesterday in the troubled Chinese region of Xinjiang.

According to Hotan authorities three men, armed with knives, attacked and stabbed several people in the county of Pishan. The three attackers were then killed in a shootout with police.

Ten people were injured in the attack. Five of them have died after transport to the hospital.

The investigations are ongoing and the identities of the attackers have not been made public. The motive remains unknown, although for such attacks, the Beijing government usually blames Islamic separatists.

The Xiniang, Chinese autonomous region, is home of the ethnic minority Uighurs, a Muslim majority.

According to authorities, and the state media, many of the deadliest or high profile attacks throughout China in recent years are linked to Xinjiang. The region has in fact been hit by several violent Uighur separatist attacks.

In December, a car full of explosives, carrying several "terrorists" crashed in the yard of the local committee of the Communist Party offices in the county Karakax. One person was killed with the four bombers.

In 2013, three Uighurs aboard a jeep ploughed into pedestrians near Tiananmen Square, symbol of the secular Chinese government in Beijing, killing five people.

The following year, five assailants armed with knives killed 31 people in a train station in Kunming, Yunnan Province. 141 other people were injured in the attack. Four of the attackers were killed on the spot. Another four were then tried and sentenced to death. Their names suggested they were Uighurs.

Human rights groups claim that the attacks are born from the frustration of the Uighurs who consider the current cultural and economic policies oppressive and discriminatory, a claim that Beijing strongly rejects. The Uighurs also denounce  a growing number of Han Chinese who are attempting to  "colonize" their homelands.

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