Timeline of unrest in China's Xinjiang region

Chinese police have captured five suspects over a "terrorist attack" near Tiananmen Square -- apparently members of the Muslim Uighur minority concentrated in far-western Xinjiang province.

Here is a chronology of key events related to the restive region since 2009:

2009

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 violence.

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.

2010

June 24 -- Police say they busted a Xinjiang "terrorist" ring behind a string of deadly attacks in the region, arresting at least 10 people.

2011

July 5 -- Rights group Amnesty International condemns China's crackdown on Xinjiang's Uighur population following the July 2009 violence.

July 18 -- Police kill 20 protesters in clashes in south Xinjiang's Hotan city, exiled Uighur groups say. State press say police fired on demonstrators after they attacked a police station, killing one officer.

July 31-August 1 -- Two 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.

September 15 -- Courts in Xinjiang sentence to death four Uighurs convicted of involvement in the July 18 and July 30-31 incidents.

December 28 -- Police kill seven "terrorists" in a hostage standoff that left one officer dead in Xinjiang's Pishan county. State media calls them terrorists engaged in a "holy war."

2012

February 28 -- Rioters armed with knives kill at least 10 people in Yecheng town in the Kashgar region, while police shoot two of the attackers dead, state press says. One man is later sentenced to death.

May 20 -- Police detain a 12-year-old boy in Korla city after a raid on an illegal Islamic school. Overseas activists later accuse police of beating the boy to death. Police say the death was related to a beating received at the school.

June 29 -- Six Uighur men try to hijack a plane that had taken off from Hotan and are thwarted by passengers and crew. Two of the men die in the struggle, and 24 crew members and passengers are injured. In December, a court sentences three of the remaining men to death, and a fourth is given a life prison term.

2013

April 23 -- Gunfights break out in Bachu county, leaving 15 police and community workers and six "terrorists" dead. Two men are later sentenced to death over the unrest.

June 26 -- At least 35 people are killed when, according to Xinhua news agency, "knife-wielding mobs" attack police stations and other sites in Turpan city's Lukqun township before security personnel arrive and open fire. Three people are later sentenced to death.

August 20 -- A Chinese policeman is killed in an incident at the edge of a desert area in Yilkiqi described by state media as an "anti-terrorism" operation. Overseas media report, however, that 22 Uighurs are shot dead in the confrontation, which they label a raid.

October 28 -- A sport utility vehicle knocks over pedestrians and bursts into flames near Beijing's Tiananmen Square, killing two tourists and injuring another 40 people. Three people inside the vehicle also die. Police alert hotels to look out for eight suspects from Xinjiang.

October 30 -- Police identify the incident as a "terrorist attack" and announce the capture of five suspects. Names of the dead in the vehicle as well as the suspects appeared to be Uighur.

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