News / Asia

Security Increased in China's Xinjiang Province

Peter Simpson

Teams of paramilitary police are on full alert in the western region of Xinjiang for the one-year anniversary of China's worst ethnic violence in decades. Security was also tightened in other Chinese cities.

Paramilitary police carrying riot shields and machine guns are patrolling the cities in China's restive Xinjiang province Monday.

A year ago, the streets of the capital Urumqi turned bloody when the indigenous minority Uighurs turned on the majority Han Chinese migrants. It was some of the worst ethnic violence the country has seen in decades.

The government says about 197 people died, mainly Han, and 1,700 were wounded. Uighur activists outside the country say the casualties were much higher, and most were Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking ethnic group culturally tied to Central Asia.

Ilham Tohti is a Uighur intellectual and business consultant. He set up a Web site in Chinese to foster closer ties between the two business communities. But the site was shut down after the riots and he was detained for a month.

Tohti says the fates of the Uighurs and Han Chinese are tied together. He says a lack of cultural understanding is to blame for the unrest.

Tohti says the rapid pace of change has left many Uighurs feeling alienated as plans are made by Chinese officials outside the region.

For years, China has had a Go West policy, to bring modernization and economic development to Xinjiang. The government encourages Han Chinese to settle in the resource-rich region.

But this has upset the six million native Uighurs, who now are a minority in Xinjiang. Many complain they are shut of jobs and that the government suppresses the practice of their religion, Islam.

The government denies that there is discrimination, and says that Uighurs and other ethnic minorities benefit from policies such as an exemption from the one-child population law. It blames last year's riots on separatists who wish to create an independent nation in the region.

On the anniversary, the atmosphere in Xinjiang is tense but peaceful. Stability has come at a price, however.

The security budget for the region has doubled in past 12 months to $426 million.

Now 40,000 security cameras watch the movements of the citizens and 5,000 police and other security personnel have been pulled in to boost street patrols.

Campaigns to seize illegal weapons and explosives were increased last week. Some shopkeepers and restaurant owners say police have taken away large knives and other implements that could be used as weapons.

The Chinese capital Beijing also stepped up security with armed police in riot gear seen widely across the city.

Some of China's state media have been covering the anniversary. But many news outlets blame outside forces for the trouble.

There have been pageantry shows on television showing Han and Uighurs living in harmony.

But one Uighur in Urumqi was too afraid to discuss the situation in the city with Voice of America.

After initially agreeing, she sent a text message saying she was being watched by security forces and her phone was being monitored.

"I have too many troubles at the moment. My phone is being recorded," she wrote

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid