* Muslims clash with police officers in town of Hexi
* Unconfirmed reports two were killed in the clashes
Fighting broke out between crowds of Muslims and police when a mosque was demolished – for being an ‘illegal religious place’.
Violence erupted in the town of Hexi, in China’s northwest Ningxia region, after 1,000 officers arrived to help police the knocking down of the building.
More than 50 protesters were injured and 100 arrested after several hundred members of China’s Muslim Hui minority tried to stop the demolition.
Clashes: Violence erupted as Chinese police officers arrived in Hexi to known down a mosque (file picture)
Sources from the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. said two people died in the clashes.
An employee who answered the phone at the town police station confirmed officers had fought with protesters and said 80 people were detained, but denied any deaths.
The employee added that police demolished the mosque after the violence.
The Communist government closely monitors religious activity and is said to be worried that mosques and other houses of worship might become centres for anti-government agitation.
The Hui are one of several Muslim minority groups in China.
They include descendants of Muslim immigrants from Central Asia, members of China’s majority Han ethnicity who converted to Islam and several other groups.