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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007, 16:24 GMT
China 'anti-terror' raid kills 18
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Chinese police have killed 18 people in a raid on an alleged militant training camp in the western autonomous region of Xinjiang, officials say.

One policeman was killed and another injured in the raid, which took place on Friday, a police spokesman said.

China is waging a campaign against what it calls separatist activities of Xinjiang's Uighur Muslim minority.

The announcement came as a Chinese official denounced Nobel Peace Prize nominee Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer.

Uighur activist

Ba Yan of the Xinjiang Public Security Department said that the training camp was located on the Pamirs plateau, close to the Afghan and Pakistani borders.

Ms Ba said the camp was run by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Etim), a group labelled a terrorist organisation by the United Nations.

"The police captured 17 terrorists and are pursuing a number of others," China's Xinhua news agency quoted her as saying.

Police seized 22 hand grenades and over 1,500 that were still being made, she said.

CHINA'S UIGHURS
Muslim Uighurs (file image)
Ethnically Turkic Muslims, mainly in Xinjiang
Made bid for independent state in 1940s
Sporadic violence in Xinjiang since 1991
Uighurs worried about Chinese immigration and erosion of traditional culture

Xinjiang is home to eight million Muslim Uighurs, who are ethnic Turks.

Many Uighurs resent the large-scale influx into the region of Han Chinese settlers, and some groups are fighting to establish an independent Islamic nation, leading to periodic violence in the region.

Beijing accuses some groups of links to al-Qaeda, but human rights groups say the Chinese authorities are using the fight against terrorism as a way of cracking down on the independence movement and suppressing religious freedom.

Rebiya Kadeer, a business woman and campaigner for Uighur rights, was jailed in 2000 for "leaking state secrets" - passing newspaper reports about the Uighurs to her US-based husband.

On Sunday, Nuer Baikeli, vice-secretary of the Communist Party committee of Xinjiang, hit out at Ms Kadeer, calling her a separatist, the China News Service reported.

"To call Rebiya the 'mother of all Uighurs' is absolutely preposterous and... amounts to defaming an ethnic minority," the agency quoted him as saying.

"The statements of Rebiya clearly show that she wants to destroy the peace and stability of Chinese society, this does not conform with the requirements of the Nobel Peace Prize," he said.


SEE ALSO
China jails Uighur activist's son
27 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Fighting the cause of China's Uighurs
24 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China 'crushing Muslim Uighurs'
12 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China frees top Uighur prisoner
17 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China's intolerance of dissent
07 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
China's changing views of terrorism
15 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific

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