Fourteen Killed in Stampede in Northwest China
Hong kong – Fourteen people were trampled to death in northwest China on Sunday as a crowd rushed to take offerings of traditional fried flat bread, the official news agency Xinhua reported Monday.
The stampede occurred outside the Beida Mosque in Xiji County in the Ningxia region, a part of northwest China dominated by members of the Hui ethnic group, a Muslim people who share some traits and cultural links with the country’s Han Chinese majority. Residents of the area were commemorating a religious figure associated with the mosque, Xinhua said.
Photographs posted on Chinese news websites showed a dense crowd, many of them men in white religious caps, packed around the mosque before the stampede, as well as images of what the reports said was the aftermath: torn clothes and shoes lost in the panic and abandoned on the gravel, and the bodies of children, apparently crushed to death by the panicking crowd.
In addition to the 14 people who died, 10 more were taken to a local hospital with injuries, including 4 who were in serious condition, Xinhua reported. The agency did not say specifically how the people were killed or injured; an investigation was underway, it said.
China’s 10.6 million Hui Muslims are distinct from the country’s Uighur Muslims, who have been a source of unrest in the Xinjiang region in the far west. Many Hui people mix more easily with Han Chinese than Uighurs typically do. But Hui people tend to be fiercely protective of their traditions, especially in Ningxia and other parts of northwest China; Hui villagers there and elsewhere have protested in past years over perceived religious insults.
President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese officials issued instructions for dealing with the stampede deaths, Xinhua said.