China adds 6 ethnic Uighurs to its terrorist list

Published April 6, 2012 3:09AM (EDT)

BEIJING (AP) — China's Ministry of Public Security has added six men to its list of terrorists, accusing them of being behind terrorist activities in the far west region of Xinjiang.

All six men have names that identify them as ethnic Turkic Uighurs (WEE'-gurs).

The government said the men are key members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which China sees as an international terrorist group. They are not in custody.

The ministry said on its website late Thursday that the men had recruited and trained members for the organization, provided funding and incited violence, including suicide bombings.

Xinjiang has been on edge since 2009, when nearly 200 people were killed in ethnic fighting between Uighurs and Han Chinese in Urumqi, the regional capital.

Violence flared again last July when a group of Uighurs stormed a police station in Hotan and took hostages, killing four. In the same month, Uighurs in Kashgar hijacked a truck, set a restaurant on fire and stabbed people in the street.

In February, 15 died in a knife-and-hatchet attack in another Xinjiang town of Yecheng. A Uighur man was convicted of that crime and sentenced to death.

Critics say Chinese economic policies and strict rules over cultural and religious expression are creating anger and resentment among the region's Uighurs. China says it has invested heavily to raise living standards and faces an organized terrorist threat from radical Muslim groups.

China has been accused of exploiting terrorism fears to justify crackdowns on legitimate dissent.

By Salon Staff

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