A riot in western China on Wednesday morning between Uyghur Muslim groups and Han Chinese has resulted in the death of an unconfirmed number of people. While some media outlets are reporting between 27 and 46 deaths, there has not yet been an official confirmation of exactly how many people have been killed.
Limited details released to local media in China indicate that strained relationships between the population of Uyghur Muslims and the Han Chinese in the region China may have contributed to the fatal attack.
According to the Associated Foreign Press, some in the community have blamed the unrest on economic inequality and religious repression -- claims that China rejects, pointing to regional investment and placing the blame instead on "terrorists."
The World Uyghur Congress, a group run by Uyghurs in exile, said in a statement to the AFP that the incident was "evidence of China's failed policies towards Uighurs." It added that "an information blackout and security crackdown" in the area raised questions about the state media's version of events.
The AFP reports that police at a checkpoint 25 miles from Lukqun barred reporters from entering the scene of the crime, citing safety fears and ongoing investigations.
The violence that took place in the western desert region, which is home to 10 million mostly Uyghur Muslims, was the worst to hit the resource-rich province since riots on July 5, 2009, left hundreds dead.
Official figures show that 46 percent of Xinjiang's population is Uighur, while another 39 percent are Han.
Xinhua said that the situation where Wednesday's attack had occurred was "generally stable".