12 children hurt as China police raid religious school

 

Staff at a religious school in heavily Muslim far western China set off explosives to fend off a police raid today and 12 children were burned, state media reported. An overseas rights group, however, blamed tear gas used by paramilitary forces for the injuries.

The Tianshan news portal for the Xinjiang region said the 12 were hospitalized with burns from a blaze started by the explosives but didn't say how old they were or how badly they were hurt. Three police and two of the three staff at the school in Hotan city were also injured, it said.

Calls to the Hotan Public Security Bureau rang unanswered today. The Tianshan report said 54 kids were at the school when police raided it.

China doesn't allow religious schools apart from a small number of licensed institutions, mostly at the university level.

The government has stepped up a campaign against underground religious schools in Xinjiang, a sprawling region that borders Central Asia and is home to millions of largely Muslim ethnic Uighurs (pronounced WEE'-gurs) who say they have been marginalized by China's majority Han.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress, said the school was teaching the Quran and that paramilitary officers used tear gas on the children.

"Both sides were involved in a clash and then authorities used tear gas causing injuries on both sides," Dilxat said.

Last month, courts in Kashgar sentenced nine men to prison terms ranging between six to 15 years for their involvement with illegal religious schools or religious instruction.

The sentences were announced at three separate public hearings in Kashgar on 31 May, the Kashgar Daily reported online. The heaviest sentence, a 15-year jail term, was handed down to Sadike Ku'erban for inciting separatism by spreading "extremist religious thought and inciting others to wage a holy war," the report said.

It said he ran a network of illegal "home schools" in four different parts of Xinjiang over 10 years that taught 86 students, including 16 under 14 years of age.

An official with the Kashgar Intermediate People's Court on Wednesday confirmed the trials took place but refused to provide any details. Like many Chinese bureaucrats, he would give only his surname, Zhang.

China allows different faiths to practice their religion but only in state-backed churches and mosques.

Many Uighurs resent Chinese rule and controls on their religion and culture and the region has occasionally seen violent unrest.

In July 2009, rioting between Uighurs and Han Chinese killed nearly 200 people in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi. Uighur activists say the Urumqi riots, which were followed by retaliatory attacks by members of China's majority Han ethnic group, were the result of decades of pent-up frustration with Chinese rule.

The government says it has vastly improved living standards in ethnic areas.

AP

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before