- Tue, 11/24/2009 - 11:00
Updated on Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 23:08 IST
Berlin: German police raided on Tuesday the flats of four Chinese men suspected of spying for the Beijing government on Munich's 500-strong Uighur community, Spiegel magazine reported on its website.
Prosecutors confirmed to a news agency that the flats of four individuals had been searched on suspicion on spying on the Uighurs for a foreign power, but declined to give details. The men were not arrested.
Fierce clashes in China's far-western Xinjiang region in July between the local Muslim Uighur community and China's majority Han ethnic group left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured, according to an official toll.
China said on November 10 that it had executed nine people over the unrest. According to statements by the Xinjiang government, they included eight Uighurs and one Han Chinese. A total of 21 people were convicted in October.
China's roughly eight million Turkic-speaking Uighurs have long complained of religious, political and cultural oppression by Chinese authorities -- which China denies -- and tensions have simmered in the Xinjiang region for years.
China says it faces a serious terrorist threat from Muslim separatists in Xinjiang, but rights groups have accused Beijing of exaggerating the threat in order to justify very tight controls in the vast region.