China's Far West; Uighurs: Xinjiang
The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking Muslim group who number about nine million in Xinjiang, a vast, restive desert region of Western China. Chinese security forces have tried to keep oil-rich Xinjiang under tight control since since 1949, when Chinese troops crushed a nominally independent Uighur nation, known as the East Turkestan Republic. ManyUighurs resent rule by the Han Chinese for a variety of government policies related to employment, language and religion and the discontent flares up periodically and violently. In 2009, nearly 200 people were killed, manyof whom were Han migrants, and 1,700 were wounded in ethnic rioting in the regional capital, Urumqi. While an inability to speak Mandarin shuts some Uighurs out of Han-run companies, many say the larger force behind their economic marginalization is naked discrimination.