News / Asia

More Than 800 Arrested in China's Widening Xinjiang Crackdown

FILE - Criminals and suspects are transported to a stadium for a mass sentencing rally in Yili, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, May 27, 2014.
FILE - Criminals and suspects are transported to a stadium for a mass sentencing rally in Yili, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, May 27, 2014.
William Ide

China is well on the way to one of its biggest crackdowns in the restive and remote northwestern region of Xinjiang since ethnic riots racked the capital of Urumqi in 2009.

Numbers released in state-media reports and in court press releases from the region show that since May more than 800 people, most presumably members of Xinjiang's largest minority group, the Uighurs, have been taken into custody on terrorism charges.

Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking, largely Muslim minority group that have increasingly been linked by Chinese authorities to a growing number of violent attacks in China. The attacks have not only targeted government offices, but civilians as well, in Xinjiang and other parts of the country.

The crackdown began intensifying following a string of deadly attacks this spring. In the month of May more than 200 people were arrested. In the first month of China's yearlong anti-terror campaign, between late May and late June, local court press releases say 380 were arrested and 315 charged.

Figures for the second month of the campaign have yet to be released, but following a violent outburst of unrest late last month more than 230 Uighurs were taken into custody, state media reports say. During that unrest authorities say nearly 100 people died, including 59 alleged terrorists who were shot dead on site.

Some say the number of those rounded up since May could be even higher.

"Based on what we are hearing from a wide range of sources, more than 1,000 people have been arrested since May and that number is conservative figure," said Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress. "The total could be even higher because there are also those who have been detained by extralegal means."

In 2009, authorities arrested more than 1,400 Uighurs after protests turned deadly and ethnic riots left nearly 200 people dead.

Fears of a Middle East Link

State media reports say authorities in Xinjiang have broken up more than 50 alleged terror groups since May. The government frequently blames the spread of religious extremism in Xinjiang on groups overseas, and increasingly there are concerns about growing links between extremists here and the Middle East.

China's Special Envoy to the Middle East, Wu Sike, recently said that Muslim extremists from Xinjiang have gone to the Middle East for training and that others may have crossed into Iraq. Chinese language media recently latched onto a speech of the proclaimed head of the Islamic State group, Abu Baki al-Baghdadi, that he made early last month.

In the address, Baghdadi raises concerns about the plight of Muslims in a long list of countries, including China. 

Rafaello Pantucci, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said that while terrorist groups such as al-Qaida do mention Xinjiang in their declarations about the global movement, there is no clear connection yet between groups overseas and those in China.

 "For example, if we look back at some of al Zahiri's recent statements he will talk about the brother organizations in the Gulf or in North Africa, or in Pakistan or in Syria, but he would never talk about in Xinjiang there being a group that they are specifically affiliated to," Pantucci said. "What they will do is to refer to this as one of the many places where Muslims have been oppressed and the Chinese government in particular is responsible for that."

Critics of the government's approach in Xinjiang such as Raxit say authorities are using the crackdown on terrorism to carry out wide-ranging oppression of Uighurs. He also says there are concerns that legal procedures are being completely ignored.

Beijing Offers Some Economic, Social Support for Region

"What we are hearing from those in the region is that the situation there now is like living in a war zone," Raxit said. "They feel no sense of justice, equality and no sense of security even in their own homes."

China Xinjiang analysts say that while the crackdown is severe, the government is reaching out at the same time to try to address longstanding concerns in the restive region such as unemployment.

Analysts say that at the same time as the crackdown intensifies, the government is also promoting policies that call for free education up to the age of 14 and bilingual teaching. The construction of a massive university in Kasghar is also seen as a key project.

Much of the violence that has wracked the region since Chinese President Xi Jinping stepped into office in March of last year, including the recent riots in Yarkand, has occurred in the south of Xinjiang, an area where a large number of Uighurs live and poverty and economic development are a key challenge.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: william li from: canada
August 15, 2014 11:54 AM
good job China! and good job Xi! keep it! use carrots and sticks, to keep those Uyghurrs under control!


by: T
August 15, 2014 9:14 AM
China's government during many years killing uyghur people and doesn't have punishment behind it's.


by: Ali baba from: New York
August 15, 2014 5:42 AM
China has to do any necessary mean to keep the country secure. Radical Islam has establish international countries including China. It looks that they need harsh treatment before it is getting out of control. China is a country that nobody can mess with it. once they thinking of trying ,they will be arrested in spot. China does not playing game . no body give them in china. no human right ,no stabbing in the back

In Response

by: Q
August 16, 2014 7:53 AM
Red china , it's a hell for innocent uyghur Muslims . Allah knows who will be pay more price . People can be killed , but there will be a day you can find who is who .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid