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Olympic Uprising: The Roots of Current Violence in Xinjiang

Recorded on August 21, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Since the beginning of the Olympian month of August 2008, Chinese security forces in far Western Xinjiang Autonomous Region have suffered three major attacks, in which 19 police and perhaps as many as 15 died.  On July 21, three civilians were killed in two separate bus bombings in Yunnan province - an unknown group called the "Turkestan Islamic Party" later took credit for the blasts.  The Chinese government says the Yunnan bombings had nothing to do with terrorists, while the Xinjiang attacks were "terrorist," despite the fact that no group took credit for them.  Moreover, few details of the Xinjiang attacks are known, except that the attackers used common propane tanks as bombs and attacked soldiers with "knives."  Alas, the Chinese government has a poor track record for Olympic season honesty, a fact that has made foreign journalists in Beijing a bit skeptical of the information they get from Xinhua news agency.

Please, join us as we explore with three prominent specialists in Xinjiang-Uighur issues the current violence, its roots and significance.