China Names 7 New Revolutionary Martyrs
China has bestowed the “revolutionary martyr” honor on seven people killed in a wave of violence in the western Muslim region of Xinjiang during a period of tight security for the Beijing Olympics, officials and media reported Thursday.
The deaths were memorialized this week as Xinjiang leaders gave a series of speeches pledging to continue a crackdown on the “three evil forces” of terrorism, separatism and extremism. The sprawling region — triple the size of France — shares borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian republics.
China insists that separatists and religious fanatics are trying to use violence to usurp Chinese control of Xinjiang, an oil-rich region that’s home to 9 million Muslim ethnic Uighurs (pronounced WEE-GURS). But human rights groups have long accused China of using the terror threat as an excuse to impose draconian measures to repress the Turkic minority.