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China says police killed attacker in Xinjiang; activists say he was shot after running light

China says police killed a youth who attacked a checkpoint in the restive northwestern Xinjiang region, contradicting allegations he was gunned down after running a red light.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday that 17-year-old Abdubasit Ablimit tried twice to seize weapons from police Saturday night. It said he was fired upon and died from his wounds Sunday morning in a hospital.

A sharply different account that circulated earlier this week said Ablimit was killed after running a red light. The activists said several hundred friends and relatives protested to demand an explanation from authorities.

Ablimit's name identified him as a member of Xinjiang's native Muslim Turkic Uighur population, many of whom resent heavy-handed Chinese rule over their region.

China restricts access to Xinjiang, making independent verification impossible.