Timeline of unrest in China's Xinjiang region07 march 2012, 16:02
At least 12 people have been killed in a fresh outbreak of violence in China's volatile northwestern region of Xinjiang, home to the mainly Muslim Uighur minority.
Here is a chronology of key events related to the restive region since 2008:
August 4 -- China says "terrorists" kill 17 police officers and border guards in the far-western city of Kashgar, days before the Beijing Olympics open.
August 10 -- At least 10 attackers and one security guard are killed in bombings and a shoot-out with police in the remote city of Kuqa.
Members of China's armed police demonstrate a rapid deployment during an anti-terrorist drill in Jinan. Photo courtesy of boston.com
June 25 -- A huge brawl erupts in the city of Shaoguan in southern China's Guangdong province between Uighur and ethnic Han factory workers. Two Uighurs are reported killed and dozens injured.
July 5 -- Uighurs gather in Urumqi to protest over the Shaoguan incident but violence erupts after security forces move in. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Uighurs riot.
July 6 -- Chinese security forces begin to pour into Urumqi and fan out across Xinjiang. The Xinjiang government blames exiled Uighur dissident Rebiya Kadeer for orchestrating the unrest. Kadeer, other Uighur exiles and Uighurs in Urumqi blame Chinese authorities for provoking the violence.
Uighur dissident Rebiya Kadeer. Photo courtesy of theage.com.au
July 7 -- The government says nearly 200 died in the unrest, with more than 1,600 injured and hundreds arrested.
September 2 -- Han residents take to Urumqi's streets for several days of protests calling for a crackdown over a wave of syringe stabbings. The government eventually says nearly 500 were stabbed. Beijing blames "ethnic separatist forces". At least 75 are later reported arrested for the attacks.
November 9 -- China says it had put to death the first nine people over the July unrest. Eventually at least 26 are reportedly sentenced to death.
March 15 -- Xinjiang's hardline top leader Wang Lequan says China will accelerate development in Xinjiang to quell unrest. State media later say more than one billion dollars will be invested.
Xinjiang's hardline top leader Wang Lequan. Photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk
April 24 -- Chinese media says the unpopular Wang has been replaced by Zhang Chunxian, a Communist Party official from Hunan province, in a move widely seen as a bid to placate public anger.
June 24 -- Police say they busted a Xinjiang "terrorist" ring behind a string of deadly attacks in the region, arresting at least 10 people.
July 5 -- Rights group Amnesty International condemns China's crackdown on Xinjiang's Uighur population following the July 2009 violence, saying hundreds have been detained and prosecuted since the riots, with several dozen sentenced to death or executed and many more sentenced to long prison terms.
July 18 -- Police kill 20 protesters in clashes in south Xinjiang's restive city of Hotan, exiled Uighur groups say. State press say police fired on demonstrators after they had attacked a police station killing one policeman.
July 31-August 1 -- Two violent attacks by alleged terrorists leave 13 people dead in a Han Chinese section of Xinjiang's Kashgar city, while police kill eight suspected Uighur separatists. State press reports the suspects were trained in terrorist cells in neighbouring Pakistan.
July 31-August 1, 2011. ©AFP
September 15 -- Courts in Xinjiang sentence to death four Uighurs suspects convicted of involvement in the July 18 incident in Hotan and the July 30 and 31 violence in Kashgar.
December 28 -- Police shoot and kill seven "terrorists" in a hostage standoff that left one policeman dead in Xinjiang's Pishan county. State press reported the suspects were "terrorists" engaged in a "holy war."
February 28 -- Rioters armed with knives kill at least 10 people in Yecheng, a town in the Kashgar region, while police shoot two of the attackers dead, state press says.
Uighur terrorists. Photo courtesy of frontpagemag.com