Inside Story

Chinese Uighurs: separatism vs terrorism?

An attack on a busy market in China's troubled Xinjiang region leaves dozens dead.

Last updated: 22 May 2014 19:36
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China has condemned what it called a "serious, violent terrorist incident" after explosives were thrown from two vehicles which ploughed into a crowded market.
It happened in Xinjiang province in China's far west, home to minority Uighur Muslims. China has blamed a series of previous attacks on separatists in the region.
Foreign ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei, said: "This violent incident lays bare the anti-human, anti-social and anti-civilisation nature of the terrorists.
The Chinese government is confident and capable of cracking down on violent terrorists. Their plots will never succeed."
Uighurs, who are ethnically Turkic Muslims, were once the majority in a region they consider their homeland. They now make up around 45 percent of Xinjiang's population.
Many blame the influx of China's Han majority for undermining their commercial, cultural and religious activites. Beijing says it's invested heavily in the region, and blames separatist groups for waging a violent campaign in Xingjiang, and beyond its borders.
Alim Seytoff, from the World Uighur Congress, told Inside Story his group condemned the attacks.
But what is driving the unrest in Xinjiang? Is China willing to address the core issues? Or will this latest attack harden the government's resolve?
Presenter: Mike Hanna
Alim Seytoff - spokesman for the World Uighur Congress.
Xie Tao - a political science professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Sophie Richardson - China director for Human Rights Watch.


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