Vi­o­lence in China’s north­west

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Con­flict­ing re­ports emerged last

For­mer State Depart­ment in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst John Tkacik said of re­ports of vi­o­lent clashes be­tween eth­nic Uighurs and Chinese po­lice in Hotan: “The Chinese are dis­tort­ing this event to le­git­imize their claims that the Uighurs are ‘ter­ror­ists’, and I don’t be­lieve it. “We have never seen an or­ga­nized ter­ror­ist at­tack in China or Xin­jiang, but rather spo­radic out­bursts that ap­pear to be ad hoc,” he said.

calls “Three Forces”: terrorism, sep­a­ratism and re­li­gious ex­trem­ism.

Hotan’s pop­u­la­tion is 90 per­cent Uighur, an eth­nic group seek­ing more ba­sic free­doms from Chinese con­trol. The over­seas-based World Uighur Congress dis­puted Bei­jing’s nar­ra­tive on July 19. “The shoot­ing took place not at a po­lice sta­tion, but at the close main bazaar of Hotan, in the Nurbagh area, when more than 100 lo­cal Uighurs peace­fully gath­ered to protest a po­lice crack­down im­posed on the city for the last two weeks,” it said in a state­ment.

“Demon­stra­tors gath­ered and de­manded to know the where­abouts of rel­a­tives who had gone miss­ing into po­lice cus­tody,” the group said. “Po­lice [then] opened fire on the demon­stra­tors, killing at least 20 peo­ple.”

Two years ago, the Xin­jiang re­gion was the site of a ma­jor Chinese po­lice and mil­i­tary crack­down on eth­nic protests. It has been un­der vir­tual mar­shal law ever since.

For­mer State Depart­ment in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst John Tkacik said: “The Chinese are dis­tort­ing this event to le­git­imize their claims that the Uighurs are ‘ter­ror­ists’, and I don’t be­lieve it.

“We have never seen an or­ga­nized ter­ror­ist at­tack in China or Xin­jiang, but rather spo­radic out­bursts that ap­pear to be ad hoc,” he said. “This in­ci­dent seems no less ad hoc and it will prob­a­bly tur n out that the [World Uighur Congress] re­port is closer to the truth.”

Miles Yu can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com.

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