Seven persons, four of them uniformed Uighur policemen working for the Ministry of Public Security at Aksu in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, were killed on August 19,2010, when an Uigur man and a woman approached a group of 15 Uighur policemen returning to a police station after performing their night beat duty and threw an explosive device at them. The two assailants were in a motorised three-wheeled vehicle generally used for carrying merchandise. The woman also died, but it is not known what caused her death. The man was reportedly caught by the police.
2. The local correspondent of the Xinhua news agency immediately flashed the news of the incident to his headquarters in Beijing, which disseminated it . According to Uighur sources, the local authorities denied for some time that any such incident had taken place. When they were confronted with the news of the incident disseminated by Xinhua, they reluctantly admitted it. They held a press conference subsequently to give some details. They described the incident as an intentional act of crime, but refrained from calling it an act of terrorism. It is not yet known whether the two Uighurs attacked the policemen, who belonged to their community, due to any personal grievance or whether it was a reprisal attack by Uighur freedom-fighters to punish the Uighur policemen for collaborating with the Chinese Government. The Uighur policemen used to go on beat duty in the Uighur areas every night to check the identities of Uighurs moving around in the town.
3. An unidentified individual has recorded the following post in a blog: "Of the many news stories about the Aksu (Aqsu) explosion yesterday, this one from the Hong Kong-based Ming Pao Daily News I find most entertaining. Since this is probably going to slip past the attention of most readers, I’ll try to roughly translate and summarize it here. Let me know if you catch any inconsistencies:
"Immediately after the news of explosion had been released by the state-run Xinhua news agency and injuries confirmed by a local hospital in Aksu, journalists from Hong Kong called the Aksu Police Office (gong’an ju) for further details. The spokeswoman denied any explosion had taken place: “Stop! I know what you’re trying to ask! This is a total fabrication! No such thing happened!” Then the journalist called again and mentioned the Xinhua report. The spokeswoman replied impatiently: “Even what Xinhua said is not necessarily true. All should be accorded with the Police Office. And what you said (about the explosion) is liable to legal obligations!” A few hours later, after Xinhua’s news conference, the journalist called again, and the spokeswoman continued: “You media like to create troubles and make irresponsible remarks without knowing what actually happened. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!”
"Wow! “Even what Xinhua said is not necessarily true!” Now I’m very interested to know the ethnicity of this little daring Aksu police! Was it a grumble from someone reluctantly dispatched to safeguard the remote frontier of her motherland? Or was it an undue faithfulness barked out—carelessly, perhaps— from the steadfastly loyal? "
4.Radio Free Asia run by the US State Department has quoted Zubeira Shemshidin, a staff member of the Washington-based Uighur Democracy and Human Rights Foundation, as saying that while the slain policemen were themselves ethnic Uighurs, the bomb attack had appeared to target “people wearing the uniforms of Chinese law enforcement officers who were carrying out a political mission. “So this was an attack on the Chinese Government,” she said. She called on the Chinese authorities not to use Thursday’s attack as an excuse to persecute Uighurs, but instead to respect the Uighurs’ right to religious freedom and beliefs."
5.Aksu is about 650 km (400 miles) west of Urumqi, and 60 km (37 miles) from the border with Kyrgyzstan. ( 20-8-10)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: email@example.com )