China police shoot dead eight `armed `terrorists` in Xinjiang

The website made no mention of any police casualties and said officials were conducting an investigation.

Beijing: Eight attackers armed with knives and explosives have been killed during an assault on a police station in China`s Xinjiang, according to authorities who have blamed terrorists for a string of deadly incidents in the largely Muslim region.

One of the attackers was held after the clash in Shache county, according to the official website of the government of Xinjiang, where mainly Muslim Uighurs are the largest ethnic group.

The website made no mention of any police casualties and said officials were conducting an investigation.

The area, about 200km southeast of Kashgar, is known as Yarkand in the Uighur language.

Authorities say terrorists have been responsible for a series of attacks this year in the sprawling and resource-rich region.

Rights groups and outside scholars, however, say unrest is spawned by cultural oppression, intrusive security measures and a wave of immigration by China`s Han majority.

Xinjiang, a region more than four times the size of Japan, is rich in oil and natural gas.

Government economic policies aimed at developing the region have raised Uighur living standards, though Han dominance of the economy has helped foster continued resentment.

The latest violence came after 16 people, including two police officers, were killed in a clash near the city of Kashgar this month.

Authorities said that "thugs" armed with explosive devices and knives attacked police attempting to detain them, though exile group World Uyghur Congress described it as a "massacre" of a family preparing for a forthcoming wedding.

In late October, police said three Xinjiang Uighurs drove a vehicle into crowds of tourists opposite Beijing`s Tiananmen Square - the symbolic heart of the Chinese state - killing two people and injuring 40, before crashing outside the Forbidden City and setting their vehicle ablaze. All three attackers died.

Beijing described the assault, the first blamed on Uighurs outside Xinjiang, as "terrorism" and said separatists backed by the militant East Turkestan Islamic Movement were responsible.

More than 190 "terrorist" attacks were logged in Xinjiang last year, state media reported. Xinjiang has seen regular violent incidents this year, including one in June in the Turpan area that left 35 people dead.

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