Korla Riot leaves 4 Dead in Xinjiang, China [Warning: Graphic Photos]

Confirmed Deaths in Korla, Xinjiang [Warning: Graphic Photos]

March 7, 2013 | 8 Comments

I’m sad to report that an incident in Korla, Xinjiang around 3pm on March 7, 2013 has resulted in the death of at least 4 people, with up to 13 others possibly injured. Reports of a Korla riot are flooding in from Weibo, China’s Twitter-like micro-blogging service, and have now been confirmed by local police.

Map of the Korla riot in Xinjiang on March 3, 2013According to Radio Free Asia:

Chinese authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang on Thursday placed a city under security lockdown after deadly violence between ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs and Han Chinese, police and Uyghur exiles said.

Police said a security clampdown had been imposed following clashes in Korla city in central Xinjiang, confirming an undetermined number of fatalities.

A regional spokesperson quoted by the South China Morning Post confirmed that the death toll was indeed 4 individuals.

Ethnic Clash or Stupid Argument?

Because this is Xinjiang, much of what has happened in Korla will be attributed to ethnic tensions and you’ll likely see news reports that inevitably end with the customary “In 2009, riots in Xinjiang killed nearly 200 people”.

As if these are connected.

An interesting report by Uyghurbiz.net suggests that this was no ethnic riot. Although hatred may have fueled the fire, the fight initially broke out at a downtown video game arcade.

Knives were produced and the afternoon went downhill fast. Both Uyghur and Han died.

————Don’t continue reading if you don’t like blood———–

Bystander Photographs of Korla Riot

If you can’t stand the sight of blood, don’t look any further in this article. The following are photos from cell phones of the incident and the aftermath.

Young men attacking each other in the streets of Korla, Xinjiang

A body lies dead in the streets of Korla, Xinjiang

Another dead body in the streets of Korla, Xinjiang

A bird's eye view of the ethnic clash in Korla, Xinjiang

4 dead in Korla Xinjiang clash

Further Reading on Clashes in Xinjiang

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

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  1. Another sad piece of news for Xinjiang indeed, and for both Uyghurs and Han.
    The government will most probably stick to its motto : “the 3 evils of separatism, terrorism and extremism are trying to undermine Ethnic Unity”. No big surprises here.
    And, as usual, the Uyghur exile groups have put all responsibility on central and regional governments and their policies. I’m pretty sure that they are making a mistake in doing so. In this specific case, the government killed nobody, but some Uyghurs killed individuals. Exile groups will go nowhere (in my opinion) if they find excuses to violence. If you blame China because it believes that violence will mate Uyghurs and acts accordingly, then you must condemn every person that uses violence as a way to solve his/her problems, Uyghurs included.
    I am really far from backing the Chinese government. I just want to emphasize the fact that making Xinjiang the nice and quiet place it should always have been is not about drawing the line between what is Chinese and what is Uyghur, but between what is right and what is wrong.


    Rosy on March 8th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I agree with Xemit. Violence is not solution for anything. Nothing good will come out of violence.


  2. I’m pretty sure that everyone have their own reasons for the incident to took place but really sad to see it actually happened.


  3. I’ve just found this article from People’s Daily, which is much probably linked to the killings:


    “Police had arrested a farmer who is suspected of having killed five people in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, local police authorities said Thursday.

    The 27-year-old male suspect killed five people and injured seven others outside a supermarket in Korla city around 3 p.m. on March 7, according to police investigation.

    Police discovered that the suspect, a farmer from Hejing county, was addicted to gambling and had long time bad relationship with his family. The suspect committed the murder to take revenge on society after a quarrel with his family members.

    The suspect had been punished three time for stabbing, according to police records.”


    Josh on March 23rd, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Yea, I saw that. Weird thing is that it says that five people were killed, while all other news – including all the Chinese news outlets – had originally reported that 4 were killed.

    Perhaps somebody died in the hospital?