"China's Uighurs"

A Turkic ethnic minority, Uighurs make up close to half of Xinjiang’s population of 20 million people and are scattered throughout China’s northwest Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Uighurs are Sunni Muslims and have experienced generations of religious and political persecution. A small group of militants that is frustrated with the Han Chinese domination of the regional economy and the government’s routine persecution of Muslims has taken up arms to fight for an independent East Turkestan state. A recent spate of separatist violence during the beginning of the 2008 Olympic Games invited renewed crackdowns by Chinese authorites. Dissident organizations based overseas such as the Uyghur World Congress and the Uygur American Association believe that hundreds of Muslims have been detained and a fresh round of the government’s anti-terrorism campaign known as Strike Hard has gone into effect.

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