[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Uighur apologises for 'holy war' in Xinjiang

Chinese state TV airs confession of one of three men who allegedly used axes to slash mahjong players in Hotan city.

Last updated: 22 Jun 2014 09:25
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The Chinese government has recently stepped up security in Xinjiang, home of Muslim Uighurs [Reuters]

A suspect of an attack in China has confessed that he had been influenced to carry out a "holy war" in the western region of Xinjiang, China's state television said. 

CCTV reported on Sunday that Mu'er Zhati was one of three attackers that entered a games room in Hotan city last week, and used axes to slash at people playing mahjong.

Mu'er made the TV confession in Uighur, the language of the native Muslim Uighurs who are seeking more autonomy from Beijing.

Mu'er, shown with a bandage on his head, said he was sorry for his behaviour.

A surveillance video, which captured the attack, showed the mahjong players fighting back with chairs, and the three attackers running outside.

The attackers were later stopped from escaping by other people armed with sticks until security forces arrived. The other two attackers were seriously injured and died, while four civilians were wounded, authorities said.

Mu'er said the head of the gang who had been killed had told him that if he died carrying out jihad, or holy war, he would directly enter heaven.

Police said the gang had been influenced by watching overseas religious "extremist" videos, CCTV reported.

Growing unrest

The incident was one in a series of attacks pointing to growing unrest in the sprawling region of Xinjiang.

Chinese Uighurs: Separatism vs terrorism

Chinese television often airs footage of suspects apologising for crimes such as stealing or fraud, and has also shown video footage of the interrogation of high-profile individuals.

Critics, however, said the airing of confessions before a court gets to hear the case, and sometimes before charges are filed, tramples on China's rule of law.

The Chinese government has blamed "extremist" Uighurs for a spate of attacks on civilians, including a market bombing last month that killed 43 people in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists said China's own repressive policies in Xinjiang have triggered the unrest and attacks.

Greg Fay, of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, had also told Al Jazeera that only state media are allowed to report from Xinjiang, making it difficult to independently verify reports from the region.

On Saturday, police in Kashgar in Xinjiang's southwest shot dead 13 assailants who rammed a truck into a police office building and set off explosives, state media said. Three officers were wounded.

Earlier this month, China executed 13 people in Xinjiang for various charges.

423

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.