Police Kill Four in Xinjiang Terrorist Attack

Chinese police fatally shot four people after they drove a vehicle into a Communist Party building in western Xinjiang before setting off explosives, state officials say. Chinese state media called the ambush a terrorist attack that killed one person and injured three others.

State media agency Xinhua did not indicate whether the attackers were killed on the spot or later in the day.

This is the latest episode in a wave of ethnic conflict and violence that has engulfed the region for years. Forty-five percent of the population is Muslim Uighur, while 40% of it is Han Chinese. Authorities blame the unrest on Islamist militants, while Uighur groups accuse the government of restricting Muslim movement and suppressing their culture in the area. The Uighur are ethnically Turkic Muslims.

Xinjiang, an autonomous region, is China’s largest province. Ethnic instability can be traced back since before 1949, when the Communist Party crushed the short-lived state of East Turkestan.

In a move to curb the violence last month, Chinese authorities began confiscating passports in the region.