Two police killed in China's Xinjiang region, Uighur group says

Beijing - Two Chinese paramilitary police were killed in a clash with Uighurs in the restive Central Asian region of Xinjiang, leading to the arrest of at least 20 people, Uighur activists said Thursday. Two officers were seriously injured and several others were hurt in the clash that occurred Wednesday in Xinjiang's Jiashi city, about 100 kilometres east of China's westernmost city of Kashgar, Dilxat Raxit of the German-based World Uyghur Congress said in a statement.

More than 20 Uighurs were detained after the clash, Raxit quoted witnesses as saying.

A hospital employee in Jiashi county confirmed the clash had taken place but declined to give details on the number of casualties while local police refused to comment.

The World Uyghur Congress said Monday that Chinese police had detained 500 Uighurs in the Xinjiang region over the past two weeks. More than 100 people were also arrested in Kashgar after an August 4 attack that killed 16 paramilitary officers in the city, it added.

The attack, which China said was carried out by two Uighur men, was among a string of deadly assaults carried out against government, police and security personnel in Xinjiang before and during this month's Beijing Olympic Games.

At least 26 people were killed in a 10-day period.

Human rights groups have criticized China for not making a distinction between violent terrorists and Uighurs expressing peaceful dissent, including those who favour independence, which they said should not be a crime.

The Uighur group said earlier that about 90 people were arrested after a series of bombings in Kuqa county on August 10. Ten "terrorists" were killed by police bullets or their own bombs, the government said.

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