China police shoot dead two "terrorists" on Vietnam border

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Chinese police have shot dead two suspected "terrorists" on the border with Vietnam, part of a group of people trying to sneak out of the country, state media said on Friday.

The group was discovered on Friday morning in Dongxing city, which lies on the other side of Vietnam's border in the southern region of Guangxi, the China News Service said on its official microblog.

Two escaped while they were being detained by police, but were tracked down later in the afternoon and shot dead, the report added.

It provided no other details.

Chinese police have previously captured or killed ethnic Uighurs from the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang who have tried to cross into Vietnam.

Hundreds of people have been killed around China in the past two years in violence between majority Han Chinese and Uighurs, a Muslim minority from Xinjiang.

Chinese authorities say they worry that Uighurs go abroad to link up with Islamist militants, but human rights groups say Uighurs are fleeing persecution under harsh government policies.

The flow of Uighurs across China's porous southern border has swelled in recent years and groups have surfaced in Southeast Asia seeking political asylum.

The government says Islamist militants want to create an independent state called East Turkestan.

But exiles and many human rights advocates argue that economic marginalisation of Uighurs and curbs on their culture and religion are main causes of ethnic violence.