To its Muslim Uigher residents, the Chinese-occupied Xinjiang region of Central Asia is East Turkmenistan — and they want it back. Efforts by the Uighers to reclaim the land from China have intensified under the recent influence of Islamic radicalism, writes international affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. Now fear of Uigher militants is spreading, as shown by initial Chinese reaction to the disappearance of the Malaysian Boeing 777, full of homeward bound Chinese. An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column:
The first thought in many minds when Malaysia Airways’ flight MH370 disappeared a week ago was that the plane had been bombed or hijacked by Uigher separatists from the Chinese-occupied Xinjiang region of Central Asia. It was a natural speculation. The disappearance of the plane came only days after eight Uighers attacked crowds in the main railway station in Kunming, capital of China’s far south-western Yunnan province, killed 29 and wounded another 143 before they themselves were shot or captured by police …
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