At least 22 people were killed on October 12 in China’s volatile Xinjiang region by Uighur terrorists who attacked police and ethnic Han Chinese with knives and explosives.
This most recent attack is the latest in a long string of attacks against Han Chinese in Xinjiang that have recently reached as far as Beijing. Hundreds have died since 2009, when the Chinese government violently suppressed a Uighur protest.
According to Radio Free Asia, a news service sponsored by the US Government, four men raided a farmers market and attacked police and store owners, most of which were Han Chinese. The attack follows a script that has plagued the region: a small cadre uses explosives to attack crowded areas then assault civilians with knives and axes.
The tension is partly a result of China’s long-standing policy of encouraging ethnic Hans to migrate to Xinjiang. In 1949 there were 220,000 Han in the region, as of 2008 there were 8.4 million. Put another way, Han have gone from 6.7 percent of the population to 40 percent.
The Han engage in discriminatory hiring practices, meaning they only hire fellow Han, and a large wealth-gap based on ethnicity has developed.