Unidentified men attacked a police station in Hotan prefecture in the troubled Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at the weekend, a Hong Kong-based group said, though details on the incident remain sketchy.
The gasoline bomb raid on Saturday came two days after deadly violence was reported between ethnic Uyghurs and Han Chinese in central Xinjiang's Korla city in which, according to official Chinese media, four people were killed and eight others injured.
The weekend attack occurred in an area under the Gujiang Bage township in Hotan, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.
Details, such as the number of casualties and who was behind the attack, are not known, the center said.
The attackers had placed nails at the police station’s entrance to prevent police cars from leaving the station in pursuit of them, it said.
At the same time, a Xinjiang netizen, quoting a reliable source, said on China's Twitter-like social media platforms that many armed police were seen at airports and other key transport hubs in the region and that security was very tight.
A staff at the police station declined to comment on the attack, but a worker at a nearby motel said heavy police presence was reported in the area.
“There are checkpoints and roadblocks everywhere around here. Even if you want to stay in hotels, you have to be checked."
Dilxat Raxit, Munich-based spokesman for the exile World Uyghur Congress, said he was informed that security in the southern part of Xinjiang has been tightened.
"We learnt from various sources that several dozen Uyhgurs have been arrested" following the incidents," he said.
Few details were available on Thursday's violence in Korla city, with some reports suggesting the incident could have been sparked by a gambling dispute or by a knife attack by ethnic Uyghurs.
Regional spokeswoman Hou Hanmin said the attackers were Uyghurs and that one of the assailants had been detained and police were searching for the others, Agence France-Presse reported.
She did not identify the ethnicity of the victims, or state whether the attack was politically motivated.
Violence between Han Chinese and Uyghurs rocked the Xinjiang capital Urumqi in July 2009, in China’s worst ethnic clashes in decades.
The 2009 violence prompted a harsh crackdown in the Xinjiang region, where Uyghurs chafe under Beijing’s rule and say they have long suffered ethnic discrimination and oppressive religious controls.
Reported by RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated by Shiny Li. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.