A reported massacre in Xinjiang raises questions

Days after a reportedly devastating terror attack in Xinjiang province on Monday, where dozens were said to have been killed or wounded with axes and knives, questions are emerging about what exactly happened. Official state news agency Xinhua did not provide an exact number, saying only that “a gang armed with knives and axes attacked a police station and government offices” in Shache (Yarkand) county and what resulted was that “police officers shot dead dozens of members of the mob.” The attack came during the Eid festival at the end of Ramadan. The World Uighur Congress immediately disputed the report, stating that more than 20 Uighurs were shot dead and 10 were injured and over 67 arrested.

The state of Xinjiang has been in a state of emergency since May, when an attack on a vegetable market in Urumqi caused the death of some 43 people. The recent escalation in violence is attributed to many factors, some say rising Islamic fundamentalism in the region as a whole is driving the current rash of attacks, whereas others say displacement of Uighurs by Han Chinese migrants in the province has caused poverty to increase.

What is confusing to some commentators is why news of the demonstration, clash, and massacre have taken so long to get to the press, leading some to believe that both accounts do not add up, according to the New York Times.

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