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Global Post: Confused About the Xinjiang Riots? Follow the Money

Author: Josh Chin
July 12, 2009

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Josh Chin argues that the unrest in China's Xinjiang province is less about Islam and more about economics.

For Kasim Tuman, a Uighur activist living in California, the explanation for the long-simmering resentment between his people and the Han Chinese that boiled over into deadly ethnic riots in northwest China last week is a matter of two numbers: 6 and 40.

The first is the percentage population of Han Chinese in Xinjiang, the Uighurs' native province, prior to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The second is that percentage today.

"The influx of immigrant Han Chinese is so large that Uighurs have become a minority in their own land," said Tuman, the West Coast coordinator the Uighur American Association.

Beijing's explanation for last week's violence is equally simple: It was the work of overseas Uighurs like Tuman - terrorist organizers, the government says, who manipulated their fellow Muslims back home to embark on a bloody rampage.

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