Uighur “separatists” in Xinjiang, the westernmost province of China, have been making headlines for the past two months by killing people with knives and explosives at railway stations in various parts of China. If you get all your information about these incidents from news reports in the legacy media, you may not be aware that these “ethnics” in western China are Muslims. If it weren’t for the friendly visit to a mosque by President Xi Jinping during his recent trip to Xinjiang, the Islamic identity of the “insurgents” might not have been apparent.
Mentioning Islam is a no-no when talking about the Uighurs because it would violate The Narrative.
This Reuters report makes the explicit case that economic problems in “restive” Xinjiang are the reason for the violent terror attacks:
In China’s Xinjiang, Economic Divide Seen Fuelling Ethnic Unrest
By Michael Martina
May 7 (Reuters) — Hundreds of migrant workers from distant corners of China pour daily into the Urumqi South railway station, their first waypoint on a journey carrying them to lucrative work in other parts of the far western Xinjiang region.
Like the columns of police toting rifles and metal riot spears that weave between migrants resting on their luggage, the workers are a fixture at the station, which last week was targeted by a bomb and knife attack the government has blamed on religious extremists.
“We come this far because the wages are good,” Shi Hongjiang, 26, from the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, told Reuters outside the station. “Also, the Uighur population is small. There aren’t enough of them to do the work.”
Shi’s is a common refrain from migrant workers, whose experience finding low-skilled work is very different to that of the Muslim Uighur minority.
Employment discrimination, experts say, along with a demographic shift that many Uighurs feel is diluting their culture, is fuelling resentment that spills over into violent attacks directed at Han Chinese, China’s majority ethnic group.
The apparent suicide attack on the station, which killed one bystander, was the latest violence to hit Xinjiang, despite a pledge from China’s President Xi Jinping to rain “crushing blows against violent terrorist forces”.
Many of the nearly 80 people wounded in the incident were likely to have been brought to Xinjiang, where Uighurs once formed the majority, by Han-controlled businesses to be construction workers or cotton-pickers.
That made the Xinjiang capital’s southern station a “powerful symbol”, said Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch. “In any colonial setting you have people amongst the colonised who are ready to use violence against the coloniser,” he said.