Last Updated: Tuesday, 02 September 2014, 13:52 GMT

Chronology for Turkmen in China

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Turkmen in China, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f387ac.html [accessed 2 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Apr 1990 Three Muslims, who had been arrested during the clashes earlier in the month, were executed.
Apr 6 - 7, 1990 According to Chinese authorities, 50 to 60 people were killed when "armed rebels" clashed with police. The rebels were reportedly Muslim. The riots were apparently sparked by a government announcement withholding permission to build a new mosque in Xinjiang.
Jul 1991 The Communist government began to hint that birth control policies might be extended to cover all ethnic and religious minorities without exception. To date, no such move has been made.
Sep 1991 With the breakup of the Soviet Union well under way, thousands of Muslims have begun to emigrate across the border to the Xinjiang. Many of them had originally left in 1964 hoping to gain autonomy within the Soviet Union. Local authorities are concerned that the emigrations could rekindle nationalist sentiments in the XUAR.
Nov 8, 1991 Hundreds of Muslim taxi drivers blew their horns in traffic for one hour to protest the continuing Chinese presence in Xinjiang. Five alleged organizers of the demonstration were sent to a labor camp for 1 to 3 years for organizing subversive activity.
Feb 6, 1992 Muslim separatists detonated a bomb on a public bus killing 6 and injuring 20 others. Unconfirmed reports said that the East Turkestan Islamic Party was responsible.
Mar 8, 1992 Xinjiang People's Government Chairman Tomar calls for a crackdown on Muslim separatist activities confirming suspicions that there has been continued unrest in Xinjiang.
May 22, 1992 A nuclear test, with a yield measuring between 1 to 2 megatons, was conducted at the Lop Nor testing grounds inside Xinjiang.
Jun 17, 1992 Muslim separatists detonated a bomb in a hotel in Kashgar, the major city in Xinjiang.
Nov 21, 1992 An Australian human rights official who has been allowed to tour China released a report about conditions in Xinjiang. He reported that Muslims and police had been clashing on average about once every two weeks. The report further stated that four to five thousand Muslims were in prison for counterrevolutionary activities.
Dec 9, 1992 The government announced that close to a half a million Han Chinese who had been displaced by flooding would be resettled in Xinjiang.
Feb 25, 1993 Amnesty International reported the arrest of four Muslims for forming an illegal organization.
Oct 5, 1993 A nuclear test was conducted at the Lop Nor testing grounds inside Xinjiang.
Oct 7, 1993 The book A Swift Turn in Thinking was published in Taiwan and distributed in China. The book featured a picture of a Chinese Muslim praying in the presence of a pig. Reacting with outrage, thousands of Muslims demonstrated in Xinjiang. According to the New China News Agency "troublemakers assaulted local party and government offices, smashed police vehicles, and attacked people". The demonstration was reportedly put down by the People's Liberation Army. There is no information confirming or denying the possibility that casualties may have resulted. In addition, several thousand Muslims began a march toward Beijing to protest the book. Police reportedly dispersed the group.
Jan 28, 1994 A five day national conference on the issue of minority nationals was convened by the Communist party. The government decided on a two-pronged approach for dealing with growing discontent in Xinjiang. On the one hand, the military would adopt an iron fist policy in regard to subversive activities. On the other hand, the government would inject new funds in an effort to help Xinjiang develop and to improve the economic situation of the many minorities who live there. To date no such "injection" of funds has occurred.
Feb 26, 1994 In an effort to crack down on "anti-government fervor", a spokesman for the cabinet's Religious Affairs Bureau announced that the religious activities of foreign tourists in China will only be tolerated if such activities are not conducted in the presence of Chinese citizens.
Apr 17, 1994 China's Premier Li Peng began a tour of Central Asia in an effort to discourage Central Asian countries from lending support, ideological or material, to the Muslim separatist population in Xinjiang. Both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have officially registered groups that support Xinjiang's independence.
Apr 26, 1994 The Straits Times reports that last September and October there were a number of anti-government riots in Xining, in Qinghai province. Mosques were apparently used to organize the riots; no figures were available on the number of participants or any potential casualties (04/26/94).
Apr 30, 1994 Eleven people were executed while thirty-six others were sentenced to various prison sentences in the Kashgar district of Xinjiang. It appears that some of the sentences were directed against those supporting Uighur separatism. Since 1990, the Kashgar district has been the scene of numerous violent incidents ranging from actions by separatists to local mafia activities (BBC, 04/30/94).
Jul 8, 1994 Acting Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji made an inspection tour of Xinjiang following major floods in the region. The floods are reported to have caused extensive damage (Xinhua News Agency, 07/08/94).
Oct 2, 1994 A major joint military exercise was carried out in northwestern Xinjiang during September. The maneuvers by the People's Liberation Army and Air Force are believed to be the largest ever in the Muslim region (South China Morning Post, 10/02/94).
Oct 21, 1994 A university press has been closed down in Xinjiang for its reported involvement in the printing of "politically unhealthy" books (Agence France Presse, 10/21/94).
Nov 24, 1994 The Xinjiang Autonomous Region is undertaking special training programs in order to promote minorities in the scientific and technical fields. The region is among the poorest in China (BBC, 11/24/94).
Dec 1994 In Urumuqi, the capital of the Xinjiang, over 500 Uighur students from the Institute of Finance marched on a provincial government building to protest the death of a Uighur student who was denied medical care by the school's ethnic Chinese doctors (UPI, 05/17/95).
Jan 19, 1995 The western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang are reported to have the highest birth rates in the country. Large ethnic populations in China were previously excluded from the one-child policy; but, two years ago, birth control was introduced in these regions (Reuters, 01/19/95).
Mar 1, 1995 China's government has publicly acknowledged that ethnic minorities in the country don't have enough to eat or wear and that the gap between the minorities and prosperous Chinese is widening. Fearful of unrest because of poverty, China is embarking on a program to ensure that by the year 2000, all ethnic peoples will be provided with enough food and clothes (UPI, 03/01/95).
Mar 16, 1995 Xinjiang's acting Communist Party Chief, Wang Lequan, stated that "Islamicists have won scant popular support" despite three bomb attacks during the past three years. Wang asserted that several people were killed and injured during the first two attacks in 1992 and 1993; however, he reported that most of those responsible had been arrested. No details were provided on whether there were any casualties or injuries in the 1994 bombing.
Mar 21, 1995 The Chinese government is encouraging the country's Muslims to make holy pilgrimages to Mecca and it has offered to provide logistical support. During 1994, about 6000 Chinese Muslims went on the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia (UPI, 03/21/95).
May 17, 1995 The Governor of the XUAR played down reports of growing discontent and an increase in Muslim separatists in the region. However, observers indicate that Muslim brotherhoods are flourishing in rural areas. The Uighurs assert that the federal government's economic policies are predatory as natural resources are shipped out of the region and new jobs are given to Han Chinese (UPI, 05/17/95).
Jun 16, 1995 The Hong-Kong based Trend Magazine reports that armed uprisings broke out in at least six cities and towns in the Yili region of Xinjiang during April. The magazine states that around 50,000 Kazakhs and Uighurs took part in the uprisings on April 22 and 24. More than 220 people were reported killed and more than 80 arrested during the clashes with the People's Liberation Army. The magazine added that the minorities in the Yili region were seeking to become a part of neighboring Kazakhstan. There was no independent confirmation of the report and no sources were cited in the article. The Chinese government has dismissed the article as a lie (Agence France Presse, 06/16/95).
Jul 1995 The former mayor of Hetian, on the southern rim of the Taklimakan Desert, says that police forces prevented thousands of Muslims from attending Friday prayers services being given by a local imam. The subsequent arrest of the imam, Mr. Makhsut asserts, precipitated riots that led to hundreds of injuries and arrests. Makhsut provided this information in 1997 while seeking political asylum in the West (New York Times, 02/28/97).
Jul 3, 1995 The Xinjiang Daily, which represents the official views of the regional government, warned against the infiltration of foreign personnel that have been providing "hostile elements" in Xinjiang with ideas, strategies, and financial aid. "Hostile elements" usually refers to the Uighur separatists. The newspaper did not name the foreign organizations reportedly involved (Agence France Presse, 07/03/95).
Jul 26, 1995 Reports indicate that the migration of Han Chinese into the Xinjiang has slowed recently. Muslims have long complained that the Chinese government is seeking to alter the demographic balance of the region. About 38% of Xinjiang's population is now Han Chinese, up from 6% in 1949 (Inter Press Service, 07/26/95).
Aug 1, 1995 - Aug 31, 1996 The Independent reports that in Hotan, Xinjiang, 19 Muslims were sentenced to jail terms of up to 15 years. They were convicted of possessing arms and belonging to a "counter-revolutionary" group (04/14/96).
Aug 7, 1995 About 200 Kazakh demonstrators were stopped by Kazakhstan's border guards as they sought to reach the border between China and Kazakhstan. They were protesting China's continued nuclear testing at Lop Nor, which is 1200 km from the common border (Reuters, 08/07/95).
Sep 29, 1995 Nineteen people have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from four to fifteen years on charges of "separatist activity" in Xinjiang (TASS, 09/29/95).
Sep 30, 1995 The 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region was celebrated in the province. The Chinese government had beefed up security in preparation for the anniversary. Communist party officials warned that autonomy did not mean independence for the region (UPI, 09/30/95).
Oct 25, 1995 The World Bank is sending a team to investigate charges that forced labor camps are the main beneficiaries of the $125 million Tarim Basin irrigation project in Xinjiang. The project aims at helping the largely Muslim population grow more and better food. The charges were made by human rights activist Harry Wu, who estimated that 25 to 60,000 people lived in the prison camps (Reuters, 10/25/95).
Dec 20, 1995 Following a six-week inquiry, the World Bank has denied activist Harry Wu's assertion that the Tarim Basin project in western Xinjiang is being constructed with prison camp laborers. The World Bank says that no prison labor is being used on any of its projects in China. Wu, an American citizen, was detained in China for two months on charges of espionage. He was released in August following the intervention of senior US officials (UPI, 12/20/95).
Jan 3, 1996 While conceding that separatism must be combated, China states that it will not suffer from a Balkans-style breakup. Ismail Amat, a Uighur who is a member of the state nationalities commission, asserted that centuries of unification had led to economic dependence among minorities, thereby, alleviated the possibilities of a breakup (Agence France Presse, 01/03/96).
Jan 8, 1996 Local officials indicate that in the past two years many agreements have been negotiated with foreign companies to further natural resource development in Xinjiang (Xinhua News Agency, 01/08/96).
Jan 11, 1996 Increasing numbers of Uighur children are being kidnapped and forced to work in China's booming coastal cities. Police in Xinjiang recently returned 12 children who were sold in Shanghai and were working in Chinese-owned restaurants (UPI, 01/11/96).
Jan 14, 1996 China will invest $6 million over the next three years to promote the tourism industry in Xinjiang. Expectations are that the region will earn over $1 billion from domestic and foreign tourists in the next five years (Reuter Textline: Business Week, 01/14/96). Beijing plans to beef up religious laws over the next 15 years to ensure that religion is not used against socialism or national unity. The government promised a severe crackdown on those using religion to split the country; the warning was largely addressed to the Uighurs and the Tibetans (Agence France Presse, 01/14/96).
Jan 17, 1996 Shortages of water, particularly clean drinking water, have been significantly alleviated in Xinjiang, the NHAR, and other northwestern provinces. Officials assert that 24.2 million residents now have clean drinking water (Xinhua News Agency, 01/17/96).
Jan 18, 1996 Reports indicate that five Uighurs who were convicted in two bomb blasts in Urumqi in 1992 were executed in June of 1995. The executions allegedly occurred in an isolated area to prevent any Uighur opposition (Chicago Tribune, 01/18/96).
Jan 24, 1996 Xinjiang's Vice-Governor says the region will not ask for preferential treatment in order to boost economic development. The statement was in contrast to China's general policies which allocate special incentives for development in minority areas (South China Morning Post, 01/24/96).
Feb 13, 1996 Two Chinese have been arrested for illegally publishing a book entitled "Extraordinary Sex and Marriage Customs" which focuses on the practices of Hui Muslims in China's north and northeast. Muslim communities in the NHAR and Xinjiang have engaged in protests over the book's alleged depiction of Muslim women as promiscuous and its assertions that polygamy and cohabitation were widespread. Beijing has confiscated around 75% of the book's copies (UPI, 02/13/96).
Feb 27, 1996 Pakistan unveiled plans to build a dry port near the border with Xinjiang to facilitate trade with China and the Central Asian states. Safety concerns over the traditional route which passes through Afghanistan reportedly led to the Pakistani decision (Xinhua News Agency, 02/27/96).
Mar 1996 The US State Department's 1996 Report on China's Human Rights Practices reveals that minorities continue to be economically disadvantaged in relation to the Chinese majority. Development projects have reportedly disrupted the traditional life of groups such as the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Ethnic minorities are also effectively closed from real political and decision-making power. Religious restrictions continue including those on the building of mosques and the provision of religious education to those under 18 (03/96).
Mar 7, 1996 Major natural resource deposits have been discovered in Xinjiang. Seven of nine sites are under exploration; their value is estimated at $12 billion (Xinhua News Agency, 03/07/96).
Apr 1996 Exiled leaders indicate that riots broke out this month in Aksu, which is south of Yining. Thousands of Uighurs were reportedly arrested and more than 20 executed (New York Times, 02/28/97).
Apr 4, 1996 Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu asserts that the World Bank continues to provide funding to China even though the funds are being used to support forced labor camps in Xinjiang. Wu contends that a World Bank investigation last December covered up the true nature of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), the recipient of bank funds. While the World Bank rejected the charges, Wu called for an independent investigation based upon his report which quotes official Chinese and Pentagon sources (Inter Press Service, 04/04/96).
Apr 8, 1996 In order to promote trade, China and Russia plan to open the Kanas pass to link Xinjiang with Siberia by the year 2000 (Agence France Presse, 04/08/96).
Apr 19, 1996 Kazakhstan has put Chinese Uighurs on alert about undertaking any efforts to promote separatism. There are up to 200,000 Uighurs living in Kazakhstan. The announcement comes a week before a treaty is expected to be signed to demilitarize the borders between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan (Agence France Presse, 04/19/96).
Apr 20, 1996 Chinese scientists are proposing that nuclear blasts be used to dig an underground irrigation tunnel between the Yarlung Zangbo River in Tibet and Xinjiang's Taklimakan Desert. The project is expected to take five decades; no environmental problems are projected (Japan Economic Newswire, 04/20/96).
Apr 23, 1996 The United National Revolutionary Front of East Turkestan (UNRF) has appealed to Central Asian leaders to reject a proposed treaty to demilitarize their borders with China. The organization's leader, Yusupbek Mukhlisi, who is based in Kazakhstan's capital, Almaty, asserts that long-term stability cannot be achieved without considering the East Turkestan issue. Kyrgyzstan recently banned a Uighur group for three months for its separatist activities. Mukhlisi also stated that the Uighur population in Xinjiang is 22 million. Official Chinese figures put the number at 8 million. The UNRF leader alleges that 40-50,000 Han Chinese arrive in the region daily, as part of a campaign to settle 100 million Chinese in Xinjiang (Reuters, 04/23/96).
Apr 25, 1996 Arguing that they have been sacrificed, UNRF leader Mukhlisi says that no other options remain but violent attacks. He revealed that there are 27 secret organizations active in Xinjiang including the Tigers of Lop Nor, who reportedly destroyed an official vehicle and killed nine Chinese officials at the end of February. The Tigers, named after the location where China conducts nuclear tests, are also supposed to be responsible for the bombing of two airplanes and a number of tanks on May 15, 1993. The leader of another Uighur group, the Organization for the Liberation of Uighurstan, supports developing relations with the Tibetans and Mongols. Ashir Vahidi says that his organization has more than one million supporters in Xinjiang, along with 12,000 others in the Central Asian states (Agence France Presse, 04/25/96).
Apr 26, 1996 China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan have signed a landmark security treaty aimed at reducing tensions at their common borders. The first of its kind in Asia, the treaty calls for widespread transparency to avoid armed conflict along the 7000 km. (4200 miles) of common borders. Along with regular information exchanges, each country pledges not to conduct military exercises within 100 km (60 miles) of common borders and to allow observers to attend maneuvers with over 35,000 troops. The Central Asian states are seeking to help their fledgling economies through greater economic links with China (UPI, 04/26/96).
Apr 29, 1996 An agreement has been reached between China and its three bordering Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) to combat the spread of "Islamic fundamentalism". No details were announced (Reuters, 04/29/96).
May 16, 1996 Xinjiang's Communist Party Secretary says that separatism poses the greatest threat to the region's stability and thus it should be crushed with an iron fist. His comments were made following an announcement that 1700 suspected terrorists, separatists, and criminal were arrested in the last week of April (Agence France Presse, 05/16/96).
May 20, 1996 Nine or ten people were reportedly executed in Urumqi on May 14 under the Strike Hard Campaign launched by the Chinese government in late April to combat separatist and criminal elements. Many thousands of Uighurs who support independence have allegedly crossed the Chinese border in light of the crackdown. Another man in Xinjiang received a three year sentence for "anti-revolutionary agitation". He reportedly wrote and distributed "reactionary" articles, that promote independence (Agence France Presse, 05/20/96).
May 25, 1996 Uighur groups in Kazakhstan, such as the Society of Patriots for East Turkestan, indicate that they will abide by a government ban on demonstrations, despite their rejection of a recent security accord between China, Russia, and the three neighboring Central Asian states. In 1994, Kazakhstan cracked down on Uighur demonstrations and banned many groups after signing a deal with China. Uighurs can now only protest against Chinese nuclear tests at Lop Nor, the remaining public issue of contention between Kazakhstan and China. Analysts claim that while the Uighurs are divided over leadership and ideology, their greatest drawback is a lack of international support (Financial Times, 05/25/96). It has been reported that nine Muslims, who were armed with guns and home-made bombs, were killed in a gun battle with Chinese forces in Xinjiang (Ibid.).
May 27, 1996 A pro-government Muslim mullah has been assassinated in Xinjiang. In February, a government official and two policemen were also killed. In total, officials state that 6-7 people have been murdered since February. Beijing has demanded an immediate crackdown on party members who were considered sympathetic to the separatist cause (Reuters, 05/27/96).
May 28, 1996 Uighur leaders in Kazakhstan maintain that more than 3000 people have been arrested since a regional security pact was signed a month ago. Official Chinese figures note 1700 arrests. Kakharman Khojamberdi, the leader of Kazakhstan's official Uighur Association, says that the executions of nine Uighurs on May 14 for allegedly going on a bombing spree was probably staged by China in order to justify the latest crackdown. He did however indicate that Uighur youth were turning to terrorism as they no longer believed in Russia or America (Reuters, 05/28/96).
May 29, 1996 More than 20,000 PLA troops and unknown numbers of police forces have been placed on emergency alert in Xinjiang following recent violent incidents with Uighur groups. The Uighurs have campaigned for a separate state for decades alleging that Xinjiang's natural resources are being exploited by Beijing and that local jobs are largely given to Han Chinese migrants (UPI, 05/29/96). Under newly instituted regulations, only the official Xinjiang People's Publication House will be allowed to publish books on Islam. Meanwhile, Professor June Teufel Dreyer at the University of Miami believes that the Uighur threat is currently just a nuisance for Beijing. She did indicate however that in 1990 China was willing to arm Han Chinese in Xinjiang's many labor camps in the event of a Uighur uprising (The Independent, 05/29/96).
Jun 3, 1996 China has confirmed that more than 2700 people have been arrested and that a number of attacks have occurred against government officials in Xinjiang. More than 600 guns and 4100 bomb detonators have been confiscated since April. The United National Revolutionary Front states that more than 5000 people are in detention. Strict border controls are in place to prevent the smuggling of weapons and Islamic materials (UPI, 06/03/96).
Jun 8, 1996 While reporters have been denied access to Xinjiang, Western diplomats visiting the region have not reported any signs of terrorist activity or an increase in security personnel (Los Angeles Times, 06/08/96). Japan has protested to China over its recent nuclear test at Lop Nor. This was the 44th explosion at this site since 1964. However, Japan will not freeze yen loans to China, estimated at 1.5 million yen (Japan Economic Newswire, 06/08/96).
Jun 14, 1996 Asiaweek reports that following recent unrest in Xinjiang, the use of religious writings, recordings, and videos that are not officially approved have been banned along with unsanctioned mosque construction. Further, private Islamic schools, often funding by West Asian states, have been targeted to ensure that all preachers are registered and that their sermons are regulated. The article also reveals that Islamic fundamentalism has few roots among the Uighurs; it is mainly prevalent among poorly educated peasants in remote areas. It states that while Uighurs have grievances over population transfers and economic discrimination, there is ambivalence about the independence campaign (06/14/96).
Jun 16, 1996 The last crackdown in Xinjiang is reported to be the toughest since the communist takeover in 1949. Exiled Uighurs assert that thousands have been arrested and over 20 killed during the Strike Hard campaign. Reports also indicate that the Uighur movement is divided into various organizations, which is limiting its mobilizational ability (Reuters, 06/16/96).
Jun 27, 1996 In an effort to quell unrest, minority cadres are being actively recruited in Xinjiang. There are over 200,000 People's Liberation Army troops and a smaller, unknown, number of People's Armed Police in the region (UPI, 06/27/96).
Jul 5, 1996 A declaration signed by Kazakhstan and China warns Uighurs in Xinjiang against any efforts toward secession. The two countries also agreed not to allow any secessionist activities on their territory. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan have all recently condemned Uighur separatism and banned such movements in their states (Financial Times, 07/04/96; Agence France Presse, 07/05/96).
Jul 10, 1996 The United National Revolutionary Front says that 20 Chinese border troops were killed in an attack near the China-Pakistan border on July 4. UNRF leader Yusupbek Mukhlisi also claims that five days earlier, Uighur rebels attacked a Chinese military post in Xinjiang's Taklamakan desert. The arrests of an unknown numbers of Uighur activists were also reported on July 5 and 6. Meanwhile, a Beijing newspaper report reveals that an Xinjiang parliamentary deputy, Aisha Awazi, was arrested in June for engaging in illegal religious activities (Agence France Presse, 07/10/96).
Jul 11, 1996 The United National Revolutionary Front (UNRF) contends that 18,000 Uighurs have been arrested in Xinjiang during the past three months. The figures are from "Chinese police contacts". The UNRF states that the crackdown followed the April signing of a border security pact between China and Russia and three Central Asian republics. No independent confirmation was available (Agence France Presse, 07/11/96).
Jul 12, 1996 China has dismissed reports by exiled Uighur groups of massive arrests in Xinjiang. Officials maintain that the total number of criminals arrested, including separatists, are in the several thousand (Agence France Presse, 07/12/96).
Jul 13, 1996 Uighurs state that the Chinese policy to assimilate Xinjiang following its incorporation in 1949 has largely focused on women. Uighur women have not only been subject to forced abortions and sterilizations after their first child, but they are also pressured to marry Chinese men (The Economist, 07/13/96).
Jul 16, 1996 Officials deny that 450 Chinese soldiers and security personnel have died in armed clashes with separatists in Xinjiang. The UNRF claims that Chinese troops in Urumqi staged a minute's silence in memory of the troops (Agence France Presse, 07/16/96).
Jul 23, 1996 While Uighurs in Xinjiang continue their independence campaign, the other half of China's Muslim community, the Hui, are seeking to maintain their peace with the Han Chinese. The estimated nine million Hui, who are concentrated in Ningxia, share physical and linguistic features with the Han. They prefer integration, according to Ma Zhiren, the vice chairman of the Ningxia Islamic Association. The Han reportedly comprise 2/3 of the NUAR's population and control the region's key posts (Agence France Presse, 07/23/96).
Jul 29, 1996 Japan has condemned China's latest nuclear test at Lop Nor, Xinjiang. It is expected to be the last Chinese test before a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is signed (Jiji Press Ticker Service, 07/29/96).
Jul 30, 1996 The recent importation of hundreds of Han Chinese to construct railway tracks from the oil-rich Korla area to Kashgar has deepened Uighur economic discontent. Attempts by Uighur officials to use local labor were overridden by the Han-dominated provincial government (Inter Press Service, 07/30/96).
Aug 21, 1996 China warns that a recent resurgence in terrorism and unrest in Xinjiang will be crushed without mercy (Agence France Presse, 08/21/96).
Sep 2, 1996 Reports received in Beijing confirm that a 100-day crackdown was launched in Xinjiang on July 14. Illegal religious activists have been targeted, particularly underground schools. 19 schools have been closed and 98 people detained. The UNRF contends that 180 mullahs, professors and students are under arrest (Agence France Presse, 02/09/96).
Oct 2, 1996 A top Chinese official says only economic development will quell separatist aspirations in China's minority regions. Xinjiang, like Tibet, suffers from endemic poverty, a lack of infrastructure, and a weak economy (Agence France Presse, 10/02/96). Meanwhile, Uighur exiles in Kazakhstan state that some 4800 Uighur officials and party members were dismissed last week for "separatist sentiments" (Ibid.).
Oct 16, 1996 The Chinese government is reportedly considering closing its northwestern borders to all but bona fide business travelers. Reports also state that at least 50 people have been arrested in Kashgar in the crackdown on religious activists (The Times, 10/16/96).
Nov 15, 1996 Xinjiang's Chairman contends that Western nations are working in concert with pro-independence activists in Xinjiang in order to split China (Reuters, 11/15/96).
Dec 3, 1996 The UNRF says eight Uighur separatists were executed in Urumqi (Reuter Textline: China Daily, 12/03/96).
Jan 2, 1997 Jane's Intelligence Review contends that China might be facing a Northern Ireland situation in Xinjiang -- an intractable, low-level terrorist campaign with some popular support that resists easy solutions and requires the dedication of large numbers of security forces (Financial Times, 01/12/97).
Jan 25, 1997 Uighur exiles in Kazakhstan state that in 1996, 57,000 people were arrested in Xinjiang. Only 47% of the region's population are reported to be Uighurs, with Han Chinese comprising nearly 37% (Agence France Presse, 01/25/97).
Feb 6, 1997 Xinjiang newspaper sources reveal that 16 convicts were executed on January 30. This included one person who was reportedly involved in a bombing last February. Others convicted in that incident received life imprisonment or unspecified sentences (Agence France Presse, 02/06/97).
Feb 7, 1997 Pakistan says that it is not involved in any unrest in Xinjiang. The denial follows reports that the Pakistani Islamic Organization, the Talighi Jamaat, was actively involved in Uighur unrest. Pakistan says the organization's activities have been peaceful and that no groups within Pakistan were involved in any violent activities in Xinjiang (TASS, 02/07/97).
Feb 10, 1997 From 10 to 30 people were killed and over 500 arrested in Yining, Xinjiang when over 1000 separatists clashed with Chinese police during a riot against Chinese rule. The town is near the border with Kazakhstan. One report indicates that the riot broke out after a Chinese policeman tried to arrest a Uighur who, along with his family, resisted arrest. The UNRF contends that the riot followed the execution of 30 Uighurs. Onlookers joined the protest and allegedly attacked Han Chinese, smashed cars, and set shops on fire (Agence France Presse, 02/10/97; Reuters, 02/10/97 and 02/11/97; Washington Post, 02/10/97).
Feb 11, 1997 Taiwan has urged China to respect the customs and cultures of minorities following a major riot in Yining, Xinjiang. The town has reportedly been sealed off. Yining was the capital of the short-lived East Turkestan Republic which was overtaken by the Chinese in 1949 (The Guardian, 02/11/97; Reuters, 02/11/97).
Feb 11, 1997 Reports indicate that there have been 47 explosions against Xinjiang's railway network since last July. Further, important copies of the Koran have allegedly been stolen from the Xinjiang Islamic Studies Center (Agence France Presse, 02/11/97).
Feb 12, 1997 Abudu Heilili, the reported leader of last week's riots in Yining has been arrested. Vigilante squads have supposedly been organized to guard against further incidents in the city. Kazakhstan has not officially commented on the riot; western diplomats attribute this to their desire to avoid an escalation of problems in the region (Reuters, 02/12/97).
Feb 12, 1997 The Chairman of the East Turkestan Union of Europe, Erkin Alptekin, says that 200 people died in recent riots in Yining. He also asserted that clashes continued in three towns, Khota (Hotan), Guma (Pishan), and Chechen (Yecjeng) which had been surrounded by tanks. The organization also reports that eyewitnesses told them that the riots began on January 27 (well before the date given by Beijing), when Chinese police demanded that 50-60 women come out of a mosque near Yining. The riots were triggered when men came to help the women. Further, the ETUE claims that on February 6, over 15,000 Uighurs gather outside communist party and government buildings to demand the release of more than 5000 political prisoners. Chinese forces allegedly opened fire on the crowd, killing more than 200 and wounding hundreds (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 02/12/97).
Feb 12, 1997 The Asia Times, quoting a Russian intelligence source, reports that Afghanistan's Taliban militia, which has gained control of the country's capital city, Kabul, has been training Islamic forces for small-scale attacks in China. The Uighurs also reportedly received arms from Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The Taliban apparently wants to destabilize the region in order to consolidate its control in Afghanistan. The Russian source also contends that the Taliban has attempted to implicate Iran and that the organization is supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. A China analyst in Bangkok says the Uighur movement is nationalistic and not fundamentalist (02/12/97).
Feb 12, 1997 Around 100 Uighurs have been reportedly executed after their participation in riots in Yining on February 5 and 6 (Agence France Presse, 02/12/97).
Feb 13, 1997 The Pakistani government states that the Tableeghi Jamaat group, located in its country, has not interfered in China's internal affairs. Pakistan asserts that China has not complained about the group's alleged shipment of religious materials to Xinjiang (Reuters, 02/13/97).
Feb 13, 1997 "Education" sessions will be instituted throughout Xinjiang to promote patriotism among Uighurs and convince them not to become involved in activities that promote unrest (Reuters, 02/13/97).
Feb 13, 1997 The Straits Times (Singapore) indicates that Turkey, which is the home of the Pan-Turkestanism movement, is unlikely to support the Uighurs as it fears being reproached by the United States which is already perturbed about an Islamic resurgence. Further, the article says that Central Asian states such as Kazakhstan are too economically weak to provide support to the Uighurs (02/13/97). It also reported that in 1995 half a million troops of the People's Liberation Army were converted into crack forces able to handle internal strife on short notice (02/13/97).
Feb 14, 1997 Several hundred people protested in the Turkish capital of Ankara against the deaths of Uighurs in Xinjiang. There are around 20,000 Uighurs in Turkey. The United National Front of Turkestan claims that riots continue in Xinjiang, despite Beijing's statement that they have been quelled. Dozens of Uighurs in the US also demonstrated in front of the UN's New York headquarters (BBC, 02/18/97; Reuters, 02/14/97).
Feb 15, 1997 Three Uighur organizations in Kazakhstan reportedly merged on February 8, creating a movement entitled "Uighuristan". It is not known which groups are involved. Meanwhile, the UNRF reports that rebels derailed a train carrying Chinese settlers to Xinjiang; no casualty figures are available. Last month, Uighur groups indicated that they would concentrate their attacks against the region's rail network to paralyze the economy (Agence France Presse, 02/15/97).
Feb 16, 1997 Turkish police in Istanbul halted hundreds of exiled Uighurs who were attempting to march to the Chinese consulate. The Eastern Turkestan National Center, which organized the march, says Chinese authorities have undertaken mass executions following last week's riots (Reuters, 02/16/97).
Feb 16, 1997 In contrast to other minority regions, GDP per capita in Xinjiang is reported to be slightly higher than the national average (3,953 as opposed to 3,890 yuan). One-fifth of the region's GDP is controlled by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which is run by Beijing to promote natural resource development. In 1996, Xinjiang's inflation rate was the highest in China at 10%, compared to the national average of 6% (South China Morning Post, 02/16/97).
Feb 19, 1997 Malaysia's Pas Youth Council has strongly condemned "recent Chinese atrocities" in Xinjiang and called upon the government to open a constructive dialogue. The organization also protested against Beijing's support of widespread Han Chinese migration to the region (New Straits Times, 02/19/97).
Feb 19, 1997 The Asia Times says a CIA report reveals that Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazerbayev met with the leaders of three Uighur exile groups earlier this month and provided assistance to them. The groups, the United Association of Uighurs, the United National Revolutionary Front, and the United Association of Uighurs, are reported to be responsible for recent riots in Yining, where more than 20 people died. The CIA report also contends that the riots were also fuelled by external aid provided by Turkey (the aid was reportedly funneled through Kazakhstan) and Afghanistan's Taliban 02/19/97).
Feb 23, 1997 The main spokesman for the Eastern Turkestan Union of Europe says that Beijing is implementing a 10-point plan to contain the Uighur insurgency. Erkin Alptekin, who is based in Bonn, reports that the plan calls for measures such as diplomatic pressure on countries that host exile groups, the purging of government and party officials that might show sympathy, and the establishment of a rapid deployment force and army units. Preferential economic treatment for the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps is also proposed. The XPCC has come under attack for reportedly running labor camps. Alptekin also says that he is working very closely with the Dalai Lama (The Washington Post, 02/23/97).
Feb 24, 1997 Reports indicate that 40 people have been executed in Xinjiang for their part in recent riots in Yining, while 5000 others were arrested, bring the number in custody to 6500. As the Chinese government bans non-Chinese from traveling to Xinjiang, information is largely being supplied by exiled Uighur groups such as the Istanbul-based East Turkestan Solidarity Social Council. The organization declared itself as a government in-exile in the 1970s but has been mostly ignored by the international community (The Daily Yomiuri, 02/24/97).
Feb 25, 1997 Three bombs exploded almost simultaneously in Xinjiang, leading to 4-5 deaths and more than 60 injuries. The explosions coincided with the last day of official memorial services for Deng Xiaoping, who died last week (Reuters, 02/25-27/97).
Feb 27, 1997 A Hong Kong magazine contends that more than more 34,000 people were involved in riots in six Xinjiang cities from January 28 to February 5. Up to 600 people are reported dead or injured. The magazine also quotes a Chinese source that says in 1996, there were 26 large-scale demonstrations in Xinjiang, each involving more than 1000 people (Japan Economic Newswire, 02/27/97). An official in Urumqi states that Han Chinese are staying home or considering leaving following three bomb blasts. Seven people died and 67 were injured, while a fourth bomb was reportedly diffused. Chinese sources expect the situation to worsen; however, they believe that Beijing considers Xinjiang as potentially less dangerous than Tibet, as some economic benefits have filtered down to the Uighurs (Asia Times, 02/27/97).
Mar 1, 1997 More than 2000 specialists and cadres are being dispatched to Xinjiang to strengthen central control and accelerate economic development. The decision was reportedly made before last week's bombings in Urumqi (South China Morning Post, 03/01/97).
Mar 4, 1997 A prominent Uighur exile, Mukhiddin Mukhlisi claims that the February 25 bombings in Urumqi were the work of three recently united Uighur groups who sought to avenge increasing Chinese repression. He also states that another bomb exploded yesterday on a bus traveling from Yining to Urumqi. China denied that there had been a new incident but indicated that troops have been placed on top alert in Xinjiang and Tibet (Agence France Presse, 03/04/97; Reuters, 03/04/97).
Mar 6, 1997 The Peoples Liberation Army has been granted sweeping powers in China's first-ever national defense law. The PLA's mandate now includes crackdowns on armed uprisings by separatist groups, along with the traditional protection of the state from an external invasion. The Communist Party's absolute power over the PLA is also outlined despite efforts to bring the army under the control of the National Peoples Congress (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 03/06/97).
Mar 7, 1997 A bomb exploded on a bus near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, injuring more than 30 people (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 03/07/97). The Turkish-based Organization for Turkestan Freedom says that the bombing was carried out by Uighurs from Xinjiang. It also indicated that further bombings would follow (Reuters, 03/09/97).
Mar 9, 1997 Reports indicate that another bomb in the trunk of a car exploded prior to the bus bombing in Beijing on March 7. This incident occurred near a popular department store which is located in the district where the majority of foreigners live (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 03/09/97). The Uighur Liberation Party has claimed responsibility for a spate of recent bombings in Xinjiang. Its spokesman, Akhmed, made the statement last week in Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan. Akhmed also alleged that his group killed three Chinese in Xinjiang last month. So far, Beijing has not indicated who was responsible for the March 7 bombing(s) in the capital (Boston Globe, 03/09/97). The Dalai Lama has urged Beijing to refrain from using military force against Muslims in Xinjiang (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 03/09/97).
Mar 11, 1997 Experts claims that Xinjiang separatist groups based in Turkey and Kazakhstan are small, disorganized extremist groups. The groups, which were likely formed after the breakup of the USSR, are not expected to become a significant force as they have not had sufficient time to obtain the necessary resources. While the Organization for Turkestan Freedom has claimed responsibility for the recent bombings in Xinjiang, other groups have denied involvement to avoid raids by Chinese forces (The Straits Times, Singapore, 03/11/97). Beijing has tightened its grip on foreign media sources, including the outright banishment of some publications. Articles that discuss the ramifications of Deng Xiaoping's death and recent violence in Xinjiang have been pulled from newsstand editions of magazines like Time, Newsweek, and the Economist. The internet web sites of foreign news organizations have been blocked, after restrictions were eased in January. China has around 100,000 Internet users (South China Morning Post, 03/11/97).
Mar 12, 1997 In an effort to show ethnic unity, official newspapers highlighted pictures depicting communist party leaders, including chief Jiang Zemin, with a popular Uighur singer (Reuters, 03/12/97).
Mar 13, 1997 The UNRF asserts that a bomb exploded at an arms factory located between Urumqi and Kashgar on March 10. Buildings were reportedly damaged; it is not known if there were any casualties. The UNRF says it was not involved in the incident (Reuters, 03/13/97).
Mar 16, 1997 A report in The South China Morning Post reveals that China's renewed efforts to exploit Xinjiang's oil and natural gas resources have likely deepened economic resentment in the region. In 1993, for the first time in its history, China became a net importer of oil. Predictions are that by 2010, China will be heavily reliant on the Middle East as its needs would account for 7.4% of global demand. Foreign companies were allowed to explore for oil in 1993 in Xinjiang and Beijing provided 30,000 workers to build roads and other infrastructure. Uighurs fear that planned development projects will include large-scale Han Chinese migrations. Conflicts over control of vital water supplies have escalated with continual Han migrations. China's depletion of its many natural resources is likely strengthening its resolve to hold on to resource-rich areas like Tibet and Xinjiang and expand claims to the Spratly Islands (03/16/97).
Mar 17, 1997 As it has in the case of Tibet, Beijing has accused the West of using Xinjiang as a tool to westernize and breakup China. The call of a class war is being used to combat separatist tendencies in the two regions (Japan Economic Newswire, 03/17/97; Reuters, 03/17/97).
Mar 19, 1997 Six people in their 30s have been indicted for their role in riots that occurred in Yining in February. They were charged with hooliganism and endangering social order. Officials deny claims by exile organizations that the six will be executed soon, stating that they will be sentenced next month (Reuters, 03/19/97). A plan to move 50 to 100,000 thousand people (reported to be Han Chinese) from the Three Gorges dam site to Xinjiang has been put on hold. China reports that resistance from local officials caused the postponement (Ibid.).
Mar 20, 1997 Exiled Uighur groups are forecasting increasing violence in Xinjiang, as the closure of many mosques and the large Chinese military presence could ignite further violence (Reuters, 03/20/97).
Mar 22, 1997 Amnesty International called for Chinese restraint in the use of the death penalty in response to recent unrest in Xinjiang. Turkey's recent expressions of concern were rebuffed by Beijing which asserts that they constitute interference in its internal affairs (Agence France Presse, 03/22/97).
Mar 24, 1997 Terrorist groups will be the primary target of China's "Spring Campaign Against Crime" which is a continuation of last April's Strike Hard Campaign. More than 3000 people have been reportedly executed since last April and tens of thousands jailed for life or sent to labor camps (Agence France Presse, 03/24/97).
Mar 25, 1997 Beijing has warned its neighboring Central Asian states against providing sanctuary for Muslim separatists. Last July, China and Kazakhstan signed an agreement opposing all forms of terrorism; Tajikistan agreed to a similar deal in September. Kazakhstan, for the first time, has officially blamed China for its suppression of Uighur activists (Agence France Presse, 03/25/97).
Mar 29, 1997 Robiya Kodir, one of the richest and most popular businesswomen in Xinjiang, has been banned from any foreign travel for her support of Uighur separatists. Her husband lives in the US where he campaigns for Uighur independence (Reuters, 03/29/97).
Apr 19, 1997 A Hong Kong newspaper reported that Uighur separatist sentiment had increased throughout Xinjiang since February, and that separatists had allegedly arbitrarily killed Han settlers. According to the report, the separatist violence was moving from the cities to the countryside, and was being supported by Islamic separatist organizations in Kazakhstan, Iran, Afghanistan and the Kashmir. Chinese authorities arrested over one hundred "mobsters" in response to the violence. (British Broadcasting Corporation 4/21/97)
Apr 25, 1997 China expelled three BBC journalists from Xinjiang for "illegal reporting." ([London] Daily Telegraph 4/25/97)
Apr 26, 1997 Officials in Xinjiang sentenced three people to death and 27 others to prison terms ranging from 7 to 18 years in relation to the February riots. Over 1,000 mainly Uighur activists later tried to free the 27 prisoners en route to the penitentiary, causing a riot in which police shot and killed two and injured between seven and twenty. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/26/97 and Agence France Presse 4/27/97)
May 4, 1997 Pakistan deported twelve Uighur youths, aged between 17 and 20, to Xinjiang, after they had fled the territory in December. Several human rights groups expressed concern for their safety. (Agence France Presse 5/4/97)
May 12, 1997 The Xinjiang regional chairman admitted that a Muslim fundamentalist "Party of Allah" had existed in the region, but claimed that the government had neutralized the threat. It was the first time the government had recognized that any group - and not simply a series of individuals - was responsible for the separatist violence. (Agence France Presse 5/12/97)
May 13, 1997 According to Xinjiang economic commission officials, Hans constituted eighty percent of the 300,000 people on the staff of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corporation, which produced a quarter of the region's gross domestic product. Uighur workers were not largely employed in the Tarim and Tuha oil fields or the new economic development zone created in Urumqi to attract foreign investment. These industries were considered keys to Xinjiang's development. The economic commission also admitted that one million people -- one in 16 of the population -- lived below the poverty line, especially in southern regions where separatist had the most support. Hans made up around two thirds of the population of Urumqi where the economic power is concentrated. At the time, there were six million Hans in Xinjiang (up from only 300,000 in 1949), which amounted to 37% of the population. (Agence France Presse 5/13/97)
May 29, 1997 Chinese authorities executed eight Muslim separatists in Xinjiang for carrying out bombings, murders and robberies that left 18 people dead in February. (Washington Post 5/31/97)
Jun 16, 1997 The Chinese government announced the results of its three-month "Spring Offensive" in Xinjiang, in which it captured 638 weapons and 10,000 bullets as well as 12,000 unauthorized publications which referred to "East Turkestan." The sweep led to the arrest of over 2,000 people. (Agence France Presse 6/16/97 and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 6/18/97)
Jun 26, 1997 The Chinese government moved "troublemakers"- most notably minority activists jailed in Xinjiang and Tibet - to Beijing in advance of the July 1 handover of Hong Kong to China. The officials feared protests. Other security measures included the closing of the border with Kazakhstan, and the monitoring of Uighurs in areas outside Xinjiang. In addition, China fired 260 local officials, including 35 Communist Party village leaders and 19 village mayors or factory managers in Xinjiang, as well as halting Koran classes and unauthorized construction on 100 mosques. (South China Morning Post 6/26/97, Washington Post 6/27/97 and Agence France Presse 6/27/97)
Jul 22, 1997 Six Uighur activists were executed for their role in the February separatist riots, while another 28 - including a pregnant woman - were given prison sentences upward of three years in length. (Agence France Presse 7/26/97)
Jul 28, 1997 In a press conference for a Xinjiang newspaper, a regional official spoke out against "terrorists," whom he claimed would kill everyone who did not agree with them, and likened ethnic separatists to "vermin" and "weeds." (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/13/97)
Aug 3, 1997 A Xinjiang regional report described a series of attacks on police and members of police families, which were blamed on ethnic separatists. The report did not specify when the attacks occurred. (Agence France Presse 8/3/97)
Aug 10, 1997 China began fencing its border with Pakistan. Pakistani newspapers suspected the enclosure was designed to prevent Islamic fundamentalists from reaching China. The Chinese maintained the fortification was to increase border control and trade. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/10/97 and Agence France Presse 8/11/97) A Hong Kong newspaper published a report alleging that Uighur separatists, funded by the US CIA, were responsible for at least one of the car bombs that had gone off in Beijing in March, 1997. (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/13/97)
Aug 19, 1997 Two armed men attempting to rob stallkeepers at an open market in downtown Urumqi were foiled when the shopkeepers chased the would-be robbers out of the market and onto the street. The robbers retaliated by shooting, killing and wounding both Hans and Uighurs. At least seven people were killed in the incident, and eleven others were hospitalized with gunshot wounds. An exiled Uighur group said the assailants were Han, while 4 victims were Uighur, two Han and one Hui. The government refused to categorize the assailants (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/26/97 and Hong Kong Standard 8/28/97)
Aug 21, 1997 A Uighur newspaper in Kazakhstan reported that throughout June, the Chinese military sponsored exhibits of negative aspects of separatist and spiritual activities, including photographs, underground publications, weapons and video material. According to a Uighur group, informants hid in the crowd of visitors and reported on individuals' reaction to the exhibition. In Suydun, Borotal (Ili Region), Kargalik, and Karakash (Hotan Region) arrests were made during the exhibitions after informants had made their reports. A clash broke out in Suydun with the Chinese military when they tried to arrest several citizens during the exhibition. Three Chinese and a senior military officer were killed. In Karakash the crowd protested out against a soldier during the arrest of well-known citizen Turap Kara. (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/23/97)
Aug 26, 1997 Amnesty International condemned China for its use of the death penalty, noting that its 4,367 reported executions totaled more than the rest of the world combined. In addition, it mentioned that there were probably many other people executed without publicity, so that Amnesty was unaware of them. According to Amnesty, a total of 202 people were given death sentences for separatist activities in Tibet and Xinjiang in 1996. (AAP Newsfeed 8/26/97)
Aug 28, 1997 Xinjiang officials reacted angrily and publicly to reports that Muslim activists were promoting separatism as a holy war and its supporters as martyrs. (Agence France Presse 8/28/97)
Sep 14, 1997 Chinese authorities launched a "manhunt" for two men believed to be responsible for the August shooting in Urumqi, whom the authorities believed would try to go to Beijing to disrupt the Chinese Communist Party Congress which was occurring. (Agence France Presse 9/14/97)
Sep 15, 1997 Uighur activists held a press conference in Kazakhstan calling on the international community to condemn China for its actions in "Uighurstan." They alleged that since the February protests, the Chinese had killed over 500 indigenous activists either in police clashes or through executions or torture, and arrested and exiled another 62,800. NOTE: Uighur organizations often protested in Kazakhstan or in front of Chinese embassies in foreign countries throughout the period covered by this update. Such demonstrations will not be further mentioned unless otherwise noteworthy. (British Broadcasting Corporation 1013/97)
Sep 22 - 27, 1997 According to official Chinese government and military documents, over 3,200 people took part in a rebellion and six days of rioting in the Xinjiang cities of Tuokexun, Shawan, Shanshan, Hutubi, Hejing, Heshuo and other areas. Some separatist organizations and hostile forces armed with sub-machine guns, automatic rifles, grenades, incendiary bombs and other weapons looted local party and government organs and state warehouses and destroyed local railways, highways and communications facilities. On the afternoon of 24th September, some 800 people in Xinjiang's Hejing and Heshuo surrounded and indiscriminately opened fire at local party and government headquarters; called for the establishment of "Xinjiangstan" ; shouted slogans like "CCP get out" , "People's Liberation Army [PLA] get out," and so on; and used weapons to block local PLA troops from maintaining order. The incident left more than 30 PLA officers and soldiers dead or wounded. Martial law was subsequently imposed. The government admitted over 270 were killed or wounded in the incidents, including more than 90 local party and government cadres, public security officers, and armed police officers. Over 820 armed separatists and members of the mob were arrested. The reports reached Western media a month after the incidents, during which time the Chinese government had officially denied reports of unrest. (British Broadcasting Corporation 10/27/97)
Oct 1, 1997 Beijing police went on high alert after receiving a tip that Xinjiang independence activists planned to bomb a Beijing disco in observance of China's "National Day," October 1. (British Broadcasting Corporation 10/6/97)
Oct 1 - 7, 1997 Uighur separatists allegedly set off a series of five bombs in Xinjiang, mostly in government buildings. The largest, on October 1 in Kuytun, killed 22. The Xinjiang government officially denied any attacks, although the Chinese government separately issued an unconfirmed report stating that nine government officials and parliamentarians had been killed in antigovernment violence in Xinjiang. The report did not specific exactly when the attacks had occurred except that they took place between the time of the Communist Party Congress and October 1. (Agence France Presse 10/3/97 & 10/9/97)
Nov 7, 1997 The Chinese government announced the success of their "intensive rectification campaign" in light of the separatist violence in the Ili Prefecture of Xinjiang. The government sent out over than 2,380 cadres of all ethnic groups to 68 towns and 330 villages through face-to-face talks, village broadcasting systems, televised lectures, meetings, symposiums, and quizzes, the work teams disseminated the documents of the party Central Committee and the autonomous regional party committee to the masses, explained to them the party's nationality and religious policies and other relevant laws, and exposed and criticized the reactionary essence of national separatism and illegal religious activities. Propaganda and education reached 100 per cent of the households. According to statistics, more than 5,650 denunciation meetings and lecture meetings were held in the prefecture, reaching over 610,000 people. After these sessions, many people informed official of the whereabouts of offenders, leading to the solution of at least 13 criminal cases through the over 200 leads emanating from this campaign. (British Broadcasting Corporation 11/21/97)
Dec 29, 1997 Sixteen people were executed in Xinjiang for crimes related to the February violence. According to the government, the sixteen were found guilty of murder, robbery and drug peddling, including one gang of seven who killed ten people and committed ten robberies. Fewer than half of the defendants were Muslims from the Uighur and Hui ethnic minorities. (Washington Post 1/13/98)
Jan 20, 1998 Eleven people were hanged, and 30 people imprisoned - some for life - for "acting like terrorists," murder, injuring officials and setting fire to police cars in Yinang in previously unreported incidents on June 26 & 26, 1997. According to officials, the incidents killed nine and injured 200. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/27/98)
Feb 3, 1998 According to Xinjiang's Ministry of Health, Uighur lifespans averaged only 63 years, compared to 70 for the rest of mainland China. United Nations data indicated the life expectancy for Xinjiang's eight million Uygurs was lower than life spans in poverty-stricken neighboring republics such as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where the average was 68 years. Of all countries in the region, only people in war-torn Afghanistan had a shorter life expectancy than Uygurs, at 45 years. (South China Morning Post 2/3/98)
Feb 14, 1998 Police in Beijing arrested more than 10 suspected "terrorists" and seized explosives believed to have been brought in from Xinjiang as the city prepared for parliamentary and consultative council meetings scheduled for next month. Police believed the group planned bomb attacks in the city during the festival, possibly to avenge the February 1997 crackdown on Moslem separatists in Xinjiang following a bloody riot there. (Agence France Presse 2/14/98) An explosion on a bus in Wuhan province killed between sixteen and thirty people. Authorities suspected either an unemployed suicide bomber or separatists from Xinjiang. The bomb was later determined to have been an unrelated suicide. (Agence France Presse 2/16/98 and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/27/98)
Mar 13, 1998 The Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang claimed that separatists had fled the police crackdown in the region by fleeing to Beijing and other inland areas, and urged police to be on alert. (Hong Kong Standard 3/13/98)
Mar 19, 1998 Officials at the Ninth National People's Congress announced that the Xinjiang Region had experienced 17.5% revenue growth in the year. (Xinhua News Agency 3/19/98)
Mar 21, 1998 The government of the XUAR issued orders to preserve stability during the celebrations of Eid al-adha Kurban-ayt Muslim festival. Restrictions included: 1. The Morning prayer (before sunrise) could not be performed before 0900. 2. The prayer could only be performed inside the mosque (traditionally, some believers prayed in the street since the mosque could not hold all believers). 3. The street "takbir" (call for prayers which believers pronounce on their way to the mosque) was banned. 4. No loud-speakers were allowed to operate in mosques. The army and police were placed on red alert. (British Broadcasting Corporation 4/2/98)
Apr 2, 1998 According to a BBC report, seven thousand demobilized People's Liberation Army soldiers were employed in Xinjiang in 1997. (British Broadcasting Corporation 4/2/98)
Apr 19, 1998 A Chinese policeman and two Muslim separatists were killed in a gun battle during a police attempt to round up a separatists group in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. One other policeman was injured during the siege, which resulted in the capture of four separatists and the escape of another. (British Broadcasting Corporation 5/4/98)
Apr 21, 1998 Hami Prefecture Intermediate People's Court sentenced three individuals charged with taking part in separatist activities and giving shelter to separatists, to prison terms of between eighteen months and six years. (British Broadcasting Corporation 4/22/98)
Apr 24, 1998 The Chinese government announced the creation of its Office on Maintaining Social Stability, which was designed to handle "threats coming from laid-off workers, disgruntled farmers and underground political organizations," as well as "combat infiltration by 'hostile foreign forces', and ethnic unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet." (South China Morning Post 4/24/98)
May 27, 1998 Uighur groups outside China announced that Uighur separatists had blown up a major bridge over the Dabancheng River as an attempt to avoid the "sincization of Uighurstan." The Chinese government claimed the bridge was blown down in a storm. (British Broadcasting Corporation 6/12/98)
Jun 11, 1998 The World Bank announced the approval of a US$ 90 million IBRD loan and an IDA credit of US$ 60 million to China for the Tarim Basin II Project to promote rural development through improved irrigation and water management in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The project hoped to increase agricultural production in economically depressed areas of the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang, raise incomes of some 200,000 poor households and increase their access to food by improving existing irrigation and drainage systems, reclaiming non-irrigated lands, making low-yield land improvements, improving agriculture support services for on-farm development, and providing technical assistance, training, and research programs. About 40 percent of the households directly benefiting from the project were below the poverty line and had an annual net income of less than 530 yuan (about US$ 64) per capita; 84 percent of those in the project area were of the Uygur minority group. (M2 Presswire 6/11/98)
Jul 1, 1998 According to internal security documents, China considers pro-independence elements in Xinjiang the main threat to political stability, in large part because they use terrorist tactics to achieve their goals. While Beijing had improved ties with Muslim countries bordering the autonomous region, arms and other supplies continued to flow from sympathizers in the Muslim world. (South China Morning Post 7/1/98)
Jul 21 - 25, 1998 According to visitors to Xinjiang, three or four bombs went off near Communist party headquarters in Khotan, and a single bomb went off in Khorla. President Jiang Zemin had visited the region a few days before. Communist Party officials denied the explosions were bombs; saying they were small detonators in one case, and a gas explosion in the other. (South China Morning Post 8/4/98)
Aug 2, 1998 A report in a Xinjiang newspaper reported on the "rampant" terrorist crimes in Ili Prefecture, including explosions, assassinations, robbery and other criminal activities. Since the beginning of the year, the newspaper said public security and armed police units had killed quite a few violent law offenders, destroyed more than 10 criminal gangs, arrested a number of suspects and confiscated guns, hand grenades and other tools for committing crimes. (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/21/98)
Aug 10, 1998 A group of Moslem Uighur separatists was suspected of killing eight police in a surprise attack in Kashgar. Officials denied the report, but admitted that Kashgar was under martial law. Other reports indicated another attack was mounted the same day on a police post at Kargilik, about 300 kilometres (190 miles) southeast of Kashgar, and a third attack targeted a Chinese army ammunition depot in Guma district, 100 kilometres from Kargilik. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/13/98 and Agence France Presse 8/15/98)
Aug 18, 1998 According to a Xinjiang newspaper, soldiers in Xinjiang used an anti- smuggling drive as a pretext to attack Muslim separatists, focusing on the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, rare metals and animals. (Daily Telegraph [London] 8/18/98)
Aug 25, 1998 An academic journal on the history and culture of the Uygur people was launched in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The semiannual journal was published in Uygur and Chinese by a national society on the history and culture of the Uygur people. (Xinhua News Agency 8/25/98)
Aug 25, 1998 The Xinjiang Regional Vice-Chairman said that the region was no more dangerous than any other part of the world, noting that terrorists had struck recently in Northern Ireland and Africa, while "nothing had happened" in Xinjiang in the past eight months. (South China Morning Post 8/26/98)
Aug 27, 1998 The Xinjiang newspaper reported the execution of 13 people for crimes ranging from robbery to murder. Of the thirteen, the only five names given had names of Han origin. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 9/1/98)
Sep 2, 1998 Regional party secretary Wang Lequan claimed that Xinjiang separatists were using up to19 small bases to allow specialists returning from Afghanistan to train teenagers in terrorism. He added that the bases received international support, with some terrorists being trained by the Islamic Taliban movement. (South China Morning Post 9/2/98)
Sep 23, 1998 The Ministry of Health announced that ethnic minorities living in Yunnan, Xinjiang, Henan, and Guangxi Provinces made up 36 per cent of HIV carriers. (South China Morning Post 9/23/98)
Oct 5, 1998 A London newspaper reported that the legacy of nuclear testing at Lop Nur had left an incredibly high incidence of birth defects and disease in Xinjiang. Confidential Chinese government documents showed that the incidence of cancer and related diseases in areas around the test site was up to 39 per cent higher than in the rest of China. Among the more common diseases are tumors, leukemia and birth defects such as cleft palates. No official tests or research was permitted on the subject. (Independent [London] 10/5/98)
Oct 11, 1998 The Chinese delegate to the United Nations called for international help in combating terrorism, a move which many felt was aimed at combating Uighur separatism. (South China Morning Post 10/11/98)
Nov 3, 1998 An East Turkestan movement in Turkey accused the Chinese government of persecuting Uighurs in light of the February 1997 bus bombings. The movement claimed that many Uighurs were being detained as suspected sympathizers. As an example, the movement cited 20 Uighurs doing business in a wholesale market in Yiwu city who were arrested on August 26, 1997, all but two of whom were still in jail. Two were suffering from broken legs due to torture by police and the other 16 were being forced to labor 14 hours every day. (Turkish Central News Agency 11/3/98)
Nov 5, 1998 The People's Congress debated a bill to stipulate that government regulations, educational lectures, notices and print and electronic materials in ethnic regions should be in standard Chinese and local languages. While people were officially allowed to use their native tongues, in practice people had to learn Mandarin to get ahead, especially since ethnic language education was not guaranteed, or in some cases available, beyond high school. (China Daily 11/6/98)
Dec 3, 1998 China executed 15 criminals in Xinjiang after they were sentenced to death in a mass hearing for 13 common law crimes including murder without any political significance. It did not say which ethnic group they belonged to. (Agence France Presse 12/4/98)
Jan 1999 At least one thousand Chinese troops transferred to Yinang, including some mobilized to quash the 1997 riots. (New York Times 2/5/99)
Jan 16, 1999 Amnesty International announced the pending executions of an unknown number of separatists found guilty in a secret trial of participating in the February 1997 unrest in Yining. Amnesty claimed that at least one of the condemned had appealed his verdict on the grounds that he had nothing to do with the violence, but the appeal had been rejected. Chinese officials said they had no knowledge of any impending executions. (Agence France Presse 1/16/99)
Jan 18, 1999 Chinese officials uncovered an attempt to smuggle six pistols, a submachine gun and 2,000 rounds of ammunition through Korgas to Xinjiang. (Agence France Presse 1/18/99)
Jan 26, 1999 Beijing officials announced that "Xinjiang Village," a narrow street of Uighur restaurants in Beijing, would be "repaired;" and demanded that its 1000 residents vacate by the end of the month. No compensation was offered. (Agence France Presse 1/26/99)
Jan 27, 1999 After a public trial in Yili, two Moslem separatists were convicted of "endangering state security and terrorist activities involving the death of more than ten officials" and executed. Another eight were given sentences of three to twelve years for similar charges. All the charges related to the 1997 riots and other attacks on Chinese officials. One of those executed had joined an illegal organization called the Islam Reform Party in 1991, incited terrorist activities in 1995 and 1997, plotted the killing of more than 10 officials in June 1997, and was caught after one of his associates was seen buying large numbers of alarm clocks intended for time bombs. A later report stated that eight other people tied to the February riots were executed within the next two days. (Agence France Presse 2/5/99 & 3/1/99)
Feb 5, 1999 Amnesty International reported that Chinese persecution of Uighurs had increased in the last year, and highlighted the stories of a doctor detained since July for treating alleged separatists and four men and four children detained after being returned from Kazakhstan. The children were held for 18 days and the men, who had not been released, were believed to have been tortured. (M2 Presswire 2/5/99)
Feb 11, 1999 The Ili Prefecture Court executed two people, one for joining a terrorist organization in 1991, inciting demonstrations on August 14th and February 5th, and the June 26th terrorist serial murders and attack on the police in Yining County. The other person had stolen 67 kg of explosives and 113 dynamite sticks in an attempt to instigate a terrorist explosion. (British Broadcasting Corporation 2/23/99)
Feb 16, 1999 Amnesty International expressed concern for the fate of three Uighur activists expelled from Kazakhstan, where they had sought asylum, and returned to China. The group feared they might be tortured or executed, especially since Uighur sources had reported that they had not returned to their home towns. (Agence France Presse 2/16/99 and British Broadcasting Corporation 2/25/99)
Feb 20, 1999 A clash in Urumqi between thirty inebriated Uighurs shouting separatist slogans and police grew to a clash of about 300. Police reportedly arrested 150, while at least five people were injured. (Independent [London} 2/20/99)
Feb 25, 1999 Police arrested a Uighur separatist and eleven members of "an action team of violent terrorists" for the previously unreported murder of the Awat Alik village party secretary on October 29, 1998. (Agence France Presse 2/25/99)
Apr 12, 1999 The underground China Democracy Party called for wide-ranging political, economic and cultural reforms, ahead of the 10th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on Tiananmen pro-democracy protests. A letter to the government listed 23 demands ranging from the separation of the Communist Party from the state, to an end to the party's use of state revenues. It also called guarantees for autonomy for Tibet and Xinjiang region. (Agence France Presse 4/12/99)
Apr 20, 1999 Amnesty International released its 92-page report on human rights in China, noting that most of the country's human rights violations occurred against the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Violations included arbitrary arrest, torture, executions (Xinjiang was believed to be the only area in China where executions occurred), and political trials where defendants had no access to lawyers. Amnesty said the violence had increased in recent years in proportion to the degree of repression and the systematic erosion of the Uighurs' economic, social and cultural rights. (Agence France Presse 4/20/99)
May 12, 1999 A Chinese provincial court in the city of Urumqi ordered the execution of 10 alleged separatist group members for murder and illegal possession of firearms. The 10 were charged with eight counts of state treason, murder and possession of firearms. The 10 killed were believed to be ethnic Uygurs seeking independence. (Japan Economic Newswire 5/20/99)
Jun 25, 1999 Uighur separatists were suspected of planting a bomb a bus in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu which killed one and injured at least fifty. (Agence France Presse 26/25/99)
Jul 23, 1999 Eighteen people in Xinjiang were sentenced to ten to fifteen years imprisonment for "trying to split the motherland." Three of the eighteen were identified as Uighurs. (Financial Times [London] 8/17/99)
Aug 31, 1999 The mayor of Urumqi admitted during a foreign press conference that there were "splittists" both within and outside Xinjiang who sought independence for the territory, and were now employing "violence and terror" to carry out these goals. Still, he insisted that both Urumqi and Xinjiang were stable. (British Broadcasting Corporation 9/3/99)
Sep 2, 1999 The Xinjiang government announced it had arrested approximately ten lightly armed people in Hotan and Kashi, who had organized to disrupt celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the People's Republic. The group allegedly snuck into Xinjiang from outside China, where they had trained, but the government offered no details as to the exact origins of those arrested. (British Broadcasting Corporation 9/4/99) Rebiya Kadeer, a prominent Uighur businesswoman, was charged with "illegally offering state secrets across the border." She had previously been showcased as a millionaire and vice-governor of Xinjiang, but had already fallen into disfavor for not criticizing her husband, Sidik Rouzi, a former Chinese political prisoner, who was employed by Voice of America. Later reports indicated that she and her two sons had actually been arrested in August after trying to meet with a group of visiting Americans. Charges were dropped against the younger son, while the older son was sentenced to two years in a labor camp for funding terrorist activities. Rebiya Kadeer herself remained in prison at the end of 1999, despite the fact that charges against her were dismissed by a Chinese court. (Washington Post 9/7/99 and Agence France Presse 12/2/99)
Sep 4, 1999 Police killed a man they believed to be responsible for the deaths of two policemen, and six civilians, through the riots and "terrorist activities" he planned in Heitan and Kashi. The man had taken a three-year-old boy hostage and thrown a grenade in his flight from police before being shot. (Agence France Presse 10/7/99)
Sep 9, 1999 The United States State Department released its annual World Religious Freedom Report, which documented, among other things, the persecution of Moslems in Xinjiang. (Agence France Presse 9/9/99)
Sep 20 - 23, 1999 Several Uighur men were executed in Yili and Urumqi for "terrorist activities," including murder, "illegal religious proselytism," manufacturing explosives, robbery, and the illegal manufacture, transportation and storage of arms, ammunition and explosives, and the creation of a "Party of Allah" in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. A total of nine people were killed and dozens more received prison sentences for related charges. (Agence France Presse 10/7/99)
Nov 11, 1999 Four people and a police officer were injured in clashes between a group of Muslims from Xinjiang and police in the southern city of Shenzhen. Violence erupted after police tried to drive the peddlers out of a commercial district and confiscated their goods. Later, some 60 Muslim peddlers, armed with iron rods and knives tried to protest, forcing the officers to shelter inside a police van until reinforcements arrived. More than 10 Muslim peddlers were later taken by police for questioning. (Agence France Presse 11/11/99) The President of Uzbekistan and Li Peng of China sign agreements to cooperate in fighting terrorism and Islamic movements. (British Broadcasting Corporation 11/12/99)
Dec 15, 1999 Amnesty International criticized the impending executions of two Xinjiang Muslims for "splittist" activities. The organization claimed the two, along with nine others who had received prison sentences, were innocent but had been convicted during secret trials based on confessions extracted during torture. Only three of the defendants had lawyers during the trial. (Agence France Presse 12/15/99)
Dec 28, 1999 The official Chinese news service publicized an archeological find which it believed "proved" that the Xinjiang region was under Han Chinese rule 1,300 years ago. It based this conclusion on the discovery of ancient cave paintings inscribed with Han Chinese characters and Han Chinese surnames. Much of the Chinese government's argument in maintaining control over Xinjiang was based on refuting the Uighurs' claims of having been previously independent. (Xinhua News Agency 12/28/99) Another article released by the Chinese News Agency listed the improvements in education in Xinjiang, including the number of newly-built mobile and boarding schools for migratory ethnic herdsmen. However, in some regions, only 4.8% of the total number of ethnic schoolchildren received an education, and across all Xinjiang, ethnic minorities made up only 64.6% of all students. (Xinhua News Agency 12/28/99)
Jan 24, 2000 A Beijing newspaper reported that five convicted Uighur separatists were sentenced to death in Urumqi for "separatism, murder, theft and the trading of illegal arms." Another eight members of the same group were sentenced to prison terms ranging from eighteen months to life. (Agence France Presse 1/24/00)
Mar 8, 2000 The Xinjiang regional chairman announced to the Chinese National People's Congress that the number of separatist incidents in the region had dropped off considerably, although the spread of "clandestine documents" continued. (Agence France Presse 3/8/00)
Mar 9, 2000 Rebiya Kadeer, who was apparently arrested on August 11 while on her way to meet with U.S. Congressional staffers in China (see 9/2/99 for details), was sentenced to eight years in prison for revealing state secrets abroad. Amnesty International labeled her a prisoner of conscience and the U.S. legislature had campaigned for her release. Later reports indicated that she was charged based on her practice of sending Chinese news clippings to her husband in the United States, and for compiling a list of political prisoners from Xinjiang which she was carrying on her way to meet with the U.S. delegation. (New York Times 3/11/00 and Washington Post 3/15/00) Russia arrested two Chinese Uighurs and charged them with fighting with the Chechen separatists. The Uighurs, who were later extradited to stand trial in China, confessed to smuggling ammunition to the area, but denied taking part in the fighting. (Agence France Presse 9/8/00)
Mar 10 - 11, 2000 Two groups of Muslim separatists, totaling eleven individuals, were executed in Asku and Baiching. The first trial convicted a group found guilty of killing six workers in a mine in August 1997, as well as "separatism, pillage, causing explosions, theft and making explosives." The second group was found guilty of killing two policemen and a police informer in February 1996, and convicted of "separatism, arms trafficking and possession of explosives A (Agence France Presse 3/19/00)
Mar 20, 2000 An Indian newspaper reported that China had warned Pakistan that Beijing's "unconditional" support to Islamabad in the Kashmir dispute would change if Muslim fundamentalists in Pakistan were not prevented from extending their support to Muslim militancy in Xinjiang. (British Broadcasting Corporation 3/20/00) A Chinese newspaper printed a picture of cloned pigs next to a picture of Islam's holiest shrine in Mecca, inadvertently touching off the wrath of Muslims across China. The Chinese government fired the newspaper's editor-in-chief and fined the editor responsible for the layout. (Agence France Presse 3/29/00)
Mar 31, 2000 China announced it would send around 100 demobilized military officers to take up legal, political, military, and recruitment affairs positions in the Xinjiang government and the local Communist party. (Agence France Presse 3/31/00)
May 31, 2000 Erkin Alptekin, the German-based head of the Eastern Turkestan Freedom Organization, warned that a militant groundswell was gathering among disaffected Muslim youth in the area as a result of a systematic campaign of oppression being carried out by Chinese forces. He warned that the youth might resort to another explosion of terrorism. (The Scotsman 5/31/00)
Jun 14, 2000 Five Uighurs were executed in Urumqi after being found guilty of "trying to split the country, arms trafficking, murder and theft." Two of the five were implicated in the February 1997 Yining riots. The group was arrested in Urumqi in February 1999 after the murder of a businessman during a robbery which netted them 240,000 yuan (29,000 dollars). It said they also killed a policeman. They had reportedly been trained in a foreign country. (Agence France Presse 6/16/00)
Jul 6, 2000 Chinese legislators debated a draft law which would have made Mandarin Chinese, or Putonghua, China's sole legal language. (Agence France Presse 7/6/00) The Urumqi Intermediate People's Court sentenced three Uighur nationalists and three other criminals to death. The three national separatists established a "Zhen Zhu Dang" True God Party organization aiming at separating the country. One of the separatists shipped 200 kg of potassium chlorate, which was for making explosives, to Xinjiang, while another ordered the murder of a police informant. (British Broadcasting Corporation 7/9/00)
Aug 3, 2000 The Xinjiang government announced that for the first time it would use competitive examinations to select officials. Higher-level officials used to simply appoint new officers. Half of the positions were set aside specifically for ethnic minorities, including the deputy director of the region's economic and trade commission and deputy director of its tourism bureau. Under the old appointment scheme, about forty percent of the bureau-level officials were members of ethnic minorities. (Xinhua News Service 8/3/00)
Aug 8, 2000 Hetian Prefecture in Xinjiang announced plans to dispatch a total of 4,000 Communist Party cadres to practice "the three togethers:" living, eating and sleeping, with the rural peasants of the prefecture. In practice, this meant that the party officials would live in the homes of the peasants for two months, reporting on both the people and the society they encountered. Party officials were required to write a three-page report per day during their stay. (British Broadcasting Corporation 8/8/00)
Aug 18, 2000 China announced that it would begin to apply the family-planning policy, limiting each family to one child, to ethnic minorities including the Uighurs, in part because it wanted to avoid the strains that came with overpopulating the western area of China, such as desertification and energy shortages. At the same time, other branches of the Chinese government actively recruited Han Chinese along the eastern coast to go to the western areas, to encourage the development of technology. Government officials denied that the two plans were at cross purposes. (Agence France Presse 8/18/00)
Sep 8, 2000 A military truck carrying explosives blew up at a busy intersection during rush hour, destroying twenty vehicles, and many buildings, killing sixty and injuring 173. Though the government did not rule out separatist involvement, initial reports indicated that the explosion was an accident. (Agence France Presse 9/10/00)

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