China punishes 17 officials after Xinjiang attack

BEIJING (TIP): China punished 17 officials in Xinjiang for security lapses surrounding deadly explosions and riots in September, state media said, as the Communist Party boss in the western region warned the fight against “terrorism” had entered a “more intense” phase.

Dozens were killed near Xinjiang’s Luntai county in the unrest after explosions killed six people, triggering a shootout with police. Police shot dead 40 rioters, some of whom were seeking to blow themselves up, said state media at the time.

The incident was one of a series of deadly attacks that have rocked the region in recent years. The government has blamed the violence on ethnic Uighur separatists, who it says want to form an independent country called East Turkestan. It is difficult for foreign journalists to report in Xinjiang, rendering it almost impossible to reach an independent assessment of the security situation. After an investigation into the Sept. 21 incident, Xinjiang’s Communist Party committee gave 17 officials “party and government disciplinary” punishment for lapses including those related to security and publicity duties, news website, which is run by the committee, said late on January 8.

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