Chinese police have killed more than 15 Uighur people at a checkpoint in the southern city of Kashgar in Xinjiang region, amid harsh restrictions imposed on the Muslim Uighur people during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Radio Free Asia reported on Wednesday.
Several police officers were killed at the clashes, according to US-based Radio Free Asia, citing Turghun Memet, an officer at a nearby police station. It said that all between 18 and 28 people were killed, including several bystanders.
Xinjiang government and public security haven’t answered repeated calls regarding on the incident.
A retired government worker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he had heard from a police officer that “Twenty-eight people were killed in the incident, including six attackers and three police, while the others were all bystanders.”
Meanwhile, Lu Kang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters that he couldn’t immediately verify the report.
"But if it is correct, then the Chinese government has the responsibility to take resolute steps to stop these kinds of violent terror acts, to maintain peace and stability in Xinjiang," he said.
Hundreds of Uighurs have been killed by Chinese government across the region, accusing them of being militants and exposing them to ethnic discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression.
Chinese government implements an increasing official pressure on millions of Uighurs not to fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Communist party has also recently ordered Uighurs to stock and sell alcohol and cigarettes in attractive displays, despite the fact that many Muslims consider it a sin to sell alcohol for religious reasons.
Uighurs are subjected to discrimination in many respects, including being prevented from practising their faith openly, the banning of beards and headscarves and being prevented from teaching their children the Quran. Officials and people younger than 18 are banned from participating in religious activities.
Rights groups believe Beijing is trying to systematically erase the region's Islamic identity but Uighur Muslims reportedly say that the restrictions have backfired and they have in fact become more religiously observant.
Xinjiang, on the borders of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, is the historic home to the Uighur people who speak a Turkic language.