Resource-rich Xinjiang Crucial To China

From AFP:

Resource rich and a buffer with Central Asia, is vital to China’s economic and geopolitical interests.

With an economy based on mining, agriculture and energy, the vast area has developed rapidly since the 1980s, attracting a wave of Han Chinese migrants but leaving many local Muslim Uighurs on the sidelines.

Last week’s violence in the region’s capital Urumqi — the worst ethnic unrest in China in decades that left at least 184 people dead — will change little about the government’s policies there, according to analysts.

Wenran Jiang, a China expert at the University of Alberta, said the strategic importance of Xinjiang — it takes up one sixth of China’s land mass and borders Central Asia — meant any long-term unrest would not be tolerated.

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