Exiled activists seeking more freedom for China's mostly-Muslim northwest warned Friday that Beijing's hardline control could lead to increased separatist violence, as the Communist Party prepared to mark 50 years of rule over the area.
The Xinjiang region is populated by ethnic Uighurs, who are Turkic-speaking Muslims with a language and culture distinct from the rest of China. A high-level government delegation was in Xinjiang to celebrate the 50th anniversary Saturday of its establishment as an "autonomous region" under Beijing's control.
Activists abroad, who refer to Xinjiang as East Turkistan, said Oct. 1 should be designated a day of mourning.
The stark warning reveals increasing frustration among Uighur activists, who Beijing decries as terrorists and who have found international sympathy for their plight diminishing amid the war on Islamist terror, reports the AP. I.L.