Fighting between police and members of the largely Muslim Hui ethnic group broke out on Friday in Ningxia region, adjacent to Inner Mongolia province, after authorities declared their newly built mosque illegal, the South China Morning Post said.
Hundreds of residents in Taoshan village confronted police armed with teargas, truncheons and knives, the newspaper said.
A Taoshan resident told Reuters he was away at the time of the clash, but that his relatives in the town believed five people, including one of their relatives, had been killed.
The resident, Jin Haitao, said villagers believed the dead included another two elderly woman, a young man and two people from nearby areas.
Residents of nearby areas complained that telephone links with Taoshan had been cut, making it impossible to verify what had happened.
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