China Faces Muslim Resentment in West

As the Olympic torch relay keeps the world’s attention focused on recent unrest in Tibetan areas, more details are emerging about reported incidents in Xinjiang. From AP:

As China grapples with protests in Tibet, it also faces unrest on its Central Asian frontier.

Resentment against the Chinese has long simmered in this traditionally Muslim western region, which borders Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia. The problems in Xinjiang came on top of nearly a month of anti-government riots and protests in Tibet and other provinces with sizable Tibetan populations.

Such clashes are growing as the Olympic Games approach, with the world’s spotlight on China and its human rights record. However, the situation with the Muslim minority Uighurs (pronounced “Wee-gers”) is even more complicated because China worries about separatist sentiment and brands more militant Uighurs terrorists.

The Wall Street Journal follows up on protests reported last week in an ethnic Uighur region of Province:

Chinese paramilitary police sealed off a market town in central China last month and detained dozens of ethnic Uighurs, said local residents and a government official.

The arrests, which occurred in late March in Henan province but weren’t reported at the time, appear to be part of an expanding Chinese government effort to prevent dissatisfaction among Turkic Uighurs from exploding into the kind of unrest that has swept Tibetan areas of the country.

Witnesses said hundreds of armed police descended on the Henan town of Shifosi, where there is a significant population of Uighur jade traders. “About 50 Uighurs were arrested,” said a local government official.

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