The deaths happened after ``several thugs'' invaded a police station in Hotan and took hostages, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
It said other police rushed to the scene and shot dead ``a number of thugs.'' One policeman, two hostages and a civilian were also killed, Xinhua said.
``Six hostages were successfully rescued,'' it said, adding the situation was now ``under control.''
A woman from the information office of Xinjiang Public Security Department in Urumqi confirmed the attack, but would not give any details. As is common with Chinese officials, she refused to give her name.
Calls to the Hotan police rang unanswered.
Xinhua did not give a reason for the attack. But Xinjiang has been beset by ethnic conflict and a sometimes-violent separatist movement by Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gurs), a largely Muslim ethnic group that sees Xinjiang as its homeland. Many Uighurs resent the Han Chinese majority as interlopers.
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress, said several sources inside Xinjiang told him the violence erupted when a large group of Uighurs tried to protest in Hotan on Monday morning. A clash broke out between the demonstrators and police, he said, and police opened fire.
More than 100 Uighurs had gathered to demonstrate against alleged illegal seizures of Uighur-held land and to demand information about relatives who they said had disappeared amid a police crackdown that began after riots in the regional capital of Urumqi in 2009, Dilxat said.
Dilxat said he could not identify his sources or say where they were located in Xinjiang for fear they would face official reprisals.
The region has been especially tense since the deadly 2009 clashes erupted between predominantly Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese migrants. Uighurs attacked Hans, overturning buses and torching shops in the regional capital of Urumqi in a riot the government says killed 197 people.
Predominantly Uighur, Hotan is an oasis town of more than 115,000 people in the southern part of Xinjiang not far from the Pakistan border.
China blames Xinjiang conflicts on what it says are violent separatists working with groups outside China.
It defends its treatment of minorities, saying all ethnic groups in China are treated equally and that tens of billions of dollars in investment and aid have dramatically raised living standards.
中 신장서 경찰서 습격..군중 수명 사망
중국 신장위구르자치구 허톈(和田ㆍ호탄)에서 18일 경찰서 습격에 이은 인질 사건이 발생, 진압 과정에서 최소 4명이 숨진 것 으로 전해졌다.
관영 신화통신은 한 무리의 폭도들이 이날 정오(현지시각)께 파출소를 습격, 경 찰관을 인질로 잡고 불을 질렀다면서 "공안과 무장경찰이 현장에 출동, 완강히 저항 하는 폭도들에게 발포해 6명의 인질을 구출했다"고 보도했다.
오후 1시30분께 상황은 종료됐으나 무장경찰관 1명과 보안요원 1명이 희생되고 인질 2명이 부상했다고 통신은 덧붙였다.
공안부 측은 국가대테러팀이 실무진을 신장자치구에 파견, 사건조사를 지휘하고 있다고 밝혔다.
신화통신은 그러나 총 몇 명의 사망자가 발생했는지는 구체적으로 밝히지 않았 다.
이와 관련, 로이터통신은 중국 관영 언론을 인용, 최소 4명이 이 사건으로 인해 숨졌다고 보도했다.
신장자치구에서는 2009년 7월 5일 한족과 위구르인 사이의 민족 갈등이 폭력 시 위사태로 폭발해 197명이 숨지고, 1천700여명이 부상(정부 발표)했다.