China’s Development of Xinjiang Spurs Resentment from Uighurs – Businessweek

Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang in China, is a cold and forbidding place to visit in late November. The red and blue flashing lights of police vehicles are everywhere. Soldiers wearing black masks and carrying automatic weapons are spread across the city, often standing next to squat black and white armored vehicles. Every commercial building, hotel, and government office has a metal detector manned by a police officer at its entrance. Fliers scattered around the city explain why women should not wear veils.

Xinjiang’s first high-speed railway, which will be 1,776 kilometers long

Perched on the edge of Central Asia, the region of Xinjiang (“new frontier” in Mandarin) has long presented a dilemma for China’s leaders. It’s home to some of the country’s largest oil, gas, and coal reserves. But its ethnically Turkic, Uighur Muslim inhabitants have long chafed under Chinese rule: Many pro-independence fighters over the decades have attacked Chinese targets, and the violence—what some credit to a shadowy group called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement—continues to this day. Beijing labels the ETIM’s members as terrorists.

This year growing anger with Uighurs over what they say is economic discrimination and religious oppression sparked attacks, usually against Chinese residents, that have killed 200 people and undermined Beijing’s control over the region. On Dec. 8, authorities sentenced eight Uighurs to death for their role in two attacks killing 42 at a train station and an Urumqi market in the spring.

via China’s Development of Xinjiang Spurs Resentment from Uighurs – Businessweek.

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