Uploaded on Dec. 16, 2011
Tania Branigan and Dan Chung were the first Western journalists on the scene of brutal conflict between Uighurs and Han Chinese which left 197 dead in the capital of Xinjiang, north western China. This ten minute documentary follows the developing events.
The Uighur Dilemma
Geupload op 22 dec 2011
Kashgar stands at the very western edge of China — an oasis city that has long provided relief for travellers on the ancient Silk Road.
Parts of the city have stood for more than 2000 years and within its labyrinth, Uighur traditions have played largely unchanged over time. It’s a living history attracting hordes of tourists every year.
But Beijing is bringing in the bulldozers – knocking down great swathes of the old town — because it says there is an increasing risk of devastation from earthquake. Officials say they’re worried about the safety of the people who live there.
The Uighurs though are a Muslim majority in the city and the region and many residents suspect other motives. They believe Beijing’s agenda is to push the Uighurs out of the alley ways and corners of old Kashgar and into more manageable and uniform accommodation where they can be monitored and better kept in check.
China correspondent Stephen McDonell has managed to gain extraordinary access to Kashgar, its residents and local leadership, to assess the motives behind the demolition program and to explore more broadly the strategic security problems Beijing is trying to contain and cauterise.
McDonell manages to gain entry to a highly sensitive security zone outside Kashgar for a bigger picture. Across the mountains in one direction Pakistan is locked in battle with the Taliban in another Afghanistan is facing the same extremist threat. The Chinese government holds grave concerns that Muslim terrorism could find fertile ground here. The Foreign Correspondent team happens upon a full scale anti-terror exercise and films from a distance.
But there’s also the developing domestic friction. In early July violence erupted between the Uighurs and the otherwise dominant Han Chinese — many of whom are resettling Uighur territory.
In the region’s capital Urumqi, it’s estimated as many as 200 people were killed and many more injured. About one thousand were arrested after troops moved in.
Broadcasted By ABC News