Tibetans and Uighurs.
“Meanwhile, on March 23 and 24 more 1000 people from the Uighur nationality demonstrated in the city of Khotan in the south of the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang. The protests were sparked by the killing in police custody of Uighur businessperson Mutallip Hajim and restrictions on women wearing Islamic headscarves.
The Uighurs, along with most of the non-Han nationalities in Xinjiang, are Muslim. More than 500 Uighurs have been detained by Chinese authorities who blamed the Khotan protests on the “three evil forces” of seperatism, terrorism and religious extremism.
The grievances fuelling both Tibetan and Uighur opposition to Chinese rule are broadly similar. In both cases, while incorporation into the People’s Republic of China in the decade following the 1949 revolution brought economic development and the elimination of oppressive pre-capitalist class relations, this was offset by cultural and religious persecution and discrimination vis-a-vis Han Chinese, reflected in significantly lower indicators in education, health and employment.
In both Tibet and Xinjiang, the market-driven economic reforms of the 1980s and ’90s that lead to the integration of China into the global capitalist economy increased national tensions. The boom in Chinese manufacturing has been largely concentrated in the coastal provinces of the east, with Xinjiang and Tibet confined to being sources of raw materials.
Furthermore, the sparsely populated autonomous regions have become destinations for Han Chinese transmigration. The discrimination and educational disadvantage faced by the local population has meant that, in both Xinjiang and Tibet, the rapidly growing modern sector of the economy and the work force is dominated by transmigrants.”