On July 5, 2009, unrest erupted in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, in response to the murder of two Uyghur laborers by Han colleagues in Guangdong. Clashes between Uyghurs and Han Chinese, including the police, lasted until July 7, 2009, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200 people. Since then, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has used the language of extremism and terrorism to justify its assault on the region’s Muslim population.
Xi Jinping, on his first visit to Xinjiang as president in 2014, labelled the region the “front line against terrorism.” During and after his trip, in a series of conversations with party officials, Xi laid the groundwork for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism.” He urged his comrades to show “absolutely no mercy.”
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